A voluntary organisation supporting victims and families of gun, knife and gang crimes
The Mothers in Pain organisation was founded by Thelma Perkins, Beverley Thomas and Barbara Sawyers in 2005. All three were affected by gun crime in different ways. Thelma's son was shot but survived, unfortunately Beverley and Barbara lost their children to fatal shootings; both were just teenagers!
It became apparent mothers like themselves were suffering in silence with no one to turn to for emotional and moral support. They felt no one understood their pain, their struggles and to some degree their cultural differences.
Mothers in Pain, Sandwell - July 2006
A mother who runs a support group for the victims of gun crime hit out at the publication of a leaflet by Sandwell Council. The flier, produced for distribution to primary schools in the borough to promote holiday activities, showed a young black girl pointing a pistol at the head of another. The picture was withdrawn by education chiefs who also apologised after Thelma Sinclair, who runs Mothers in Pain, complained about it. She said that "If we want to put a stop to gun crime we must all work together. Gun crime is not just a black issue but a world-wide problem and one for the community as a whole" (Birmingham Mail, 6 July 2006)
It was also apparent that young people were crying out for help. It was found that young people were being targeted from an early age to join gangs. They too had no-one to turn to for help; help to steer them in the right direction away from the pressures of forced affiliation, help to give them something positive to focus on instead of hanging around with their peers and help to re-build broken relations with their families.
Organisations have claimed to be focusing on supporting our young people, but after years of media coverage nothing appears to have changed. The New Years shooting and many others that followed it, is an example of system failure!
Unfortunately, it was Thelma and Barbara's own individual experiences which gave them the drive and motivation to seek a solution. They decided something had to be done.
From the four corners of Thelma's living room, Mothers in Pain was formed. Meetings were held regularly were mothers were invited to talk about their own experiences, to let their tears flow and to support each other, but importantly to gauge thoughts and ideas of 'where to go from here'. Beverley at this stage, made a decision to work with another organisation along with the mother of the other young lady who was killed alongside her own daughter in the New Years shootings.
Mothers in Pain had their first challenge when Thelma had to lobby local council who thought it was suitable for them to use a child, a 'black' child to advertise a negative image in their promotions, see excerpt:
Mothers in Pain is determined to make a difference to our young 'black' people, and any young person who seeks an exit from gang culture and all that surrounds its negative lifestyle. By going into schools, youth centres, after-school clubs and doing outreach work; MiP will seek to educate the community about the pain and suffering caused by the aftermath of guns, knives and gang crimes by using visual aids, guest speakers and life experiences.
The MiP organisation is here for people affected by guns, knives, and gangs. It is for your family, both immediate and extended. It is for your friends and most importantly it is here for you!
Distracting our young people from a life of crime