These Moms Lost Sons to Gun Violence. They Want Help.
Tina Ford understands the toll of gun violence like few of us ever will. She lives with it every day.
In April 2019, her, son, Armani Ford, a local high school football legend, was shot and killed in his hometown of Clairton, Pa., a steel town in the Monogahela River Valley, just south of Pittsburgh. He was just 23 years old.
In the wake of her son’s death, Ford helped found a local chapter of Mothers of Murdered Sons, or MOMs. Among other women who had buried children all too soon, she found comfort and solace. To her frustration and sadness, she found its membership kept growing.
And the price of that loss, she said, extends beyond the heartache. The hole torn by premature loss of a child can mean missed work and economic hardship that leads to a bereaved person falling behind on their rent and bills.
For too many, there’s no way out of that financial spiral.
“We carry each other. We help each other,” Ford said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I have strength from God. But this is serious. We need help.”
Enter a pair of newly introduced House bills sponsored by Pennsylvania state Rep. Austin Davis, a Pittsburgh Democrat whose district includes Clairton.
Davis' proposals respectively would offer debt deferral to grieving parents and create a grant program that would offer financial assistance to those families.
If they’re eventually approved and signed into law, the bills would give families “time to grieve without a fear of losing their homes,” Davis said Tuesday.
That’s not just rhetoric. Research has shown that gun violence exacts a measurable economic impact on the communities where it occurs.