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Peoria mom forms anti-gun violence group, first march to be held Saturday

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PEORIA (HOI) -- A Peoria mother is reaching out to the community to try and stop gun violence involving young people and she already has ideas on how to make a change by forming 'Mothers Against Guns'.

"I'm a survivor of a gunshot," said Peoria native, Lorraine Washington.

Washington said she was 16-years-old when she was shot in Peoria.

"I spent 7 months in a hospital fighting for my life," said Washington.

She said she was blessed to be here, but not everyone's outcome was the same.

Lieutenant John Briggs with the Peoria Police Department said 12 minors were shot in Peoria in 2021, four of those were in the last six weeks.

"It's a reality now it's on an everyday basis," said Tonya Williams, organizer of Mothers Against Guns.

Peoria native, Williams, said changing the outcome for children in Peoria was her passion and calling.

"Why not try to stop it before it gets to this point," Williams continued, "I have grandchildren, I have children, that I want to see prosper."

She formed Mothers Against Guns and her first step was making sure parents were held accountable.

She thinks mothers could be the key.

"A conversation has to be had. And when a mother speaks, I think that it's a listening ear," said Williams.

This issue hit home for Williams. She lost her brother and nephew to gunfire.

In June, her nephew was shot and killed in Peoria, which is still under investigation.

"To see a mother that's lost a child, that look is not a normal look. That's a totally different sadder look, that's a different type of scary look," said Williams.

Washington, also apart of the group, said she was ready to make change happen in the city.

"They call us baby Chicago and that is not us at all," said Washington.

Mothers Against Guns will host its first march at the Carver Center on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Paige Blanzy

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