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Moms who lost loved ones to violence create support group that's become a sisterhood

Organizers also use the group to empower mothers to make changes to their community, in hopes of preventing more women from walking through their door.

INDIANAPOLIS — It's a group no one wants to be a part of.  

As homicide numbers continue to climb, more mothers are left dealing with grief.

A group of women from different backgrounds, bonded by loss, met on the east side of Indianapolis Saturday. They meet every month.

"They were human beings living a normal life. That call changed the projection of my entire life," said Regina Watson-Steele.

Watson-Steele's son was murdered 13 years ago. He was part of a triple homicide. He was only 22.

"Every time I take a shower, I cry. I wouldn't wish this way of loss on anyone," said Watson-Steele.

Gayla Whitsey's son was gunned down on a porch in 2017, minutes before Thanksgiving Day.

"He was the 144th murder that year," said Whitsey. "I just think about... I got four kids and I couldn't protect one."

They're not alone. Every woman at the meeting had lost a child to gun violence. As homicide numbers rise in Indianapolis, so does the number of moms attending their meetings.

"He is supposed to bury you. Not you bury your child," said Whitsey.

But at least one day a month the women come together to put down their heavy burdens and share some food, drinks, laughter but most of all—  support.

"There's no judgment because we all understand. Our stories are not identical, but they are because we understand the loss when you get a call," said Watson-Steele.

The group is called A Mother's Cry. Saturday was their first meeting of the new year. The program is organized by the Ross Foundation. The founder, Dee Ross, said this is not a typical support group, but a sisterhood.

"They are mothers helping mothers. They can relate to each other's pain. A therapist typically can't relate to that pain," said Ross.

Organizers also use the group to empower mothers to make changes to their community in hopes of preventing more women from walking through their door.

"We have the power to change whatever is problematic in our community. It's empowering our people who are directly impacted," said Ross.

As they continue to live through another year without their loved ones, they left the meeting feeling refocused on their mission.

"Now what we have to do is make sure that our children's names are forever, never not spoken again," said Ross. 

More information about the Ross Foundation can be found online