NEW ORLEANS -- Mothers who share a common mission to end gun violence came together as a part of the Essence Empowerment Experience on Sunday.
“The Mother’s Prayer Vigil: Love, Loss, and Life” has become an Essence Festival annual event.
Mothers remembered their children with prayers and pictures.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu addressed the crowd about New Orleans’ murder reduction campaign, NOLA for Life. He spoke to the group and encouraged them to share their stories.
“Because when you look into a mother's eyes and you see that pain, it's really hard for everybody to look aside and I really believe that it's going to be the mothers that change this city,” Landrieu said.
Michelle Barthelemy, a mother at the event, spoke about her experience with gun violence.
“It hurts me every day to see the news. To see other mothers walk in those shoes because it's very difficult. It's a pain to mother should endure. No mother should have to bury their child,” Barthelemy said.
Landrieu called gun violence a serious and debilitating national issue.
Many of the women at the event said sharing their stories and listening to other mothers helped them heal.