tv America Tonight Al Jazeera November 24, 2015 9:30pm-10:01pm EST
al jazeera mechanic. anytime you're 16 years old and say i'm better off dead than alive, that's how it is. >> no mother should ever have to bury their child. >> the caskets unfortunately are getting smaller and smaller. >> there are young people thirsty for change. >> can we fix this? >> yeah, we can. will we? welcome to a special edition of "america tonight." i'm sarah hoye. tonight the focus is on the gun
violence riddling america's heartland. we first begin in chicago where so far this year there's been nearly 400 gun deaths and more than 2,000 shootings. behind the sobering figures are personal stories, both of fear and resilience. we look at a mother who has turned the pain of losing her son to gun violence into purpose. it's just before 8:00, and pam bosley is already running behind. >> thank you for this day. we thank you god to look on tre as he goes to school. >> the chicago mother of three is rushing to get her 17-year-old son tre to school not just on time, but alive. it was nine years ago that pam's oldest son terrell was shot and killed right before band practice. terrell was outside of a church helping a friend unload his drums from a car when the shots
rang out. he was 18 years old. the day terrell died, the nightmare began. >> i cannot afford to have this happen again. >> things got so bad for pam she tried taking her life not only once, but twice. >> me and terrell was so close. no mother should have to bury their child. >> then pam had a realization. she wanted to live. she wanted to make a difference. she left a 20-year career in banking to start purpose over pain, a support group for parents who lost their children to gun violence. pam now works at st. sabinas catholic church, a fixture to chicago's south side in the heart of the city locks call shyrak. before each workday, she stops at the memorial wall dedicated to victims of gun violence. >> to make sure you're safe, i protect them the best i could. me and my husband.
because of guns in our neighborhood, my baby is not here. so just like it happened to me, i found out it can happen to anybody no matter how hard you try to protect your child. >> chicago has had nearly 400 homicides this year with mostly the young paying the ultimate price. before terrell's death he played the bass in the church band and was pursuing a musical degree in a nearby college. >> he was in church and playing the gospel music and in college and doing all the right stuff. it taught me that nobody is exement from this violence. >> a shared love of music created a strong bond between mother and son. >> when terrell died, people were like, you're not going to be in the choir and not sing anymore? you don't get this. it hurts me when i listen to the
music and when i sing and when hair the bass in the music. it hurts. the song is dead now for me. the music is dead. >> terrell's death has also paralyzed her with fear for the safety of her two other sons. especially tre, who is still in high school. >> so just walking through different neighborhoods to get to his school, he's crossing a lot of territories. so i'm afraid of him walking to school, so i drive him. i'm fearful. i leave work and take my lunch and go get tre if i need to if he gets out of school early. i go and get him and take him home. i bring him to work with me. i shouldn't have to live in the atmosphere of fear, but i do. >> yeah, we got to set the model up in chicago so it would be carried other places since this is your home. >> this father has been the pastor at the church since the '80s. >> i always like to see we create the perfect storm, so
it's hard to value your life whether society tells you you're not valuable to society. >> an outspoken community activist who goes by father mike, he, too, is working to stop the bloodshed. >> not only are we in danger of losing a generation, i feel like society has decided to lose a generation. you know, we're not just seeing people tloun to the side of the road. we're throwing them there. we're putting them there. we're saying, your disposable, and i think you're only now trying to -- starting to see young people across this country rise up and say, enough. >> despite the daily gun violence plaguing u.s. cities like chicago, it's the mass shootings like the tragedies in roseburg, oregon or charleston, south carolina that get the attention and trigger a discussion on gun violence. >> and laws that result in it being easier in too much neighborhoods for a young person to purchase a gun than a book. >> that's why our community for
life people don't value us. when it's a mass shooting they get outraged and talk about it. when it's police brutality, people get outraged and talk about it. when a black person shoots another black person, nobody says anything. that's okay. >> all the while homicides continue to climb daily in cities across america, including chicago, had saw its deadly he is september in 13 years according to "the chicago tribune." >> i participated in a whole lot of funerals, and the caskets unfortunately are getting smaller and smaller. for 30 years i'm saying the same thing. we have poor schools and lack of jobs and housing and we have lack of options. after 30 yoerz when you say the same thing and nothing changes, why don't you wake up. people don't care. >> also fighting for the youth of chicago is lamar johnson. lamar overseeing the brave youth leaders program at the ark, a
teen youth council dedicated to building peace. >> chicago has always been a violent city, right? so is there any change for this? is this always been a violent city? what can we do about it? >> we can't do anything. we ain't got no money. there's only so much we can do. we can raise awareness. >> okay. >> if i was an average kid living in chicago, what would my life be like? >> not only the stuff in the community but in their homes. a lot of them live in situations where they're forced to grow up fast. walking down the street, you walk to the store, and it's not guaranteed they are coming home. it's just that simple. most kids live with their grandparents, so most kids deal with abandonment issues and the self-esteem is low and depression and suicide stuff. there's kids around here dealing with a lot of stuff. if it wasn't for the ark, no
telling how worse they would be. >> can we fix this? >> yeah, we can, but will we? >> pam is once again pack back at st. sbinas with her husband and sons. >> we've all lost our children to gun violence. >> her gun violence support group and lamar's high schoolers join forces for the hoops for peace basketball tournament. it's part of state saturdays at st. sabinas giving the youth a safe place to be, even if just for a few hours. why do you stay in chicago and do what you do? >> because i'm the voice of terrell. so i'm all that he has left. so i do this on behalf of terrell. so i'm here and doing this. i believe change is going to come. >> many major u.s. cities have seen a drastic surge in homicides this year. with one unlikely working class
takes us two hours north of chicago. despite the daily gun violence plaguing several u.s. cities, milwaukee has one of the highest rising murder rates across the country. along the banks of lake michigan sits the city of milwaukee. it's formidable shores once a bastian of manufacturing. beyond the calm waters lies a city in pain. >> first, we're following breaking news out of milwaukee this morning. a double-fatal shooting. >> three people are dead include a toddler and teenager. >> after years of declining violent crime nationwide, many major u.s. cities have seen a drastic surge in homicides, with this works class city topping the list. >> witnesses heard several shots. >> so far this year milwaukee had over just 100 homicides compared with 86 throughout all of 2014.
>> how are you going to make it through tonight with all the gunshots? if you leave this room today and they close the books on your life, what are people going to say about you? >> educators and friends are trying to step in before anyone else gets killed. >> is there a god that exists on 28th? >> together they co-founded the i will not die young campaign to help reduce gun violence in my walk. >> when my boy laid in that casket cold and lifeless, we was just walking down the street yesterday. >> he said that the death of his godson preston shot sitting in a car in 2005 moved him to action. >> violence, i think, is a personal issue. when he find ourselves riding through these communities and see the shrines, teddy bears and flowers, a lot of people are disconnected from it because
they don't know the people. when it happens to you personally, then it's just not a statistic anymore or a news story anymore. it's a personal thing. >> amonged mid-sized cities, milwaukee's homicide rate is one of the worst with around 14 killings per 100,000 people. the majority of victims are black men with guns the weapon of choice. >> the most important thing in this room today is the courage to let out what you wrote. >> they work with the milwaukee public schools to help teens stay away from violence by offering conflict resolution training. the spoken word artists also provide an outlet for students to open up. >> if you weren't involved in the work that you do, what's the alternative? >> i know that there are young people thirsty for change, and there are young people who are
thirsty for what they have been promised. >> once a manufacturing powerhouse, the city of milwaukee is a far cry from the hay day. with the majority of factories and breweries gone, unemployment and poverty has skyrocketed here. both milwaukee mayor tom barrett and my walk police chief edward flynn did not respond to multiple interview requests by "america tonight" to talk about the surge of gun violence. however, older woman malayla cox gave up her lunch break to speak with us. kogz is part of a political dynasty in wisconsin that includes the first black women elected to the state legislature in the 1970s. talk to me about milwaukee. it's making headlines for all the wrong reasons, yet yourself have managed to see the glass is half full. why? >> in a very personal way because of my family, my children, a community that i care about is right here in
milwaukee. >> this is home? >> right. so when i look at the statistics, i don't see all of the bad. i see the possibilities and the work that needs to be done. >> despite her optimism, the spike is taking a toll on the city's 600,000 residents. >> it's sad because, you know, i was born and raised here. i know the greatness milwaukee holds and how great it can be. every time i get a call. every time the police give me a calm. every time i see the yellow tape or hear from a family that lost a loved one it hurts. the loss of the life is for the intur entire community. >> when someone is lost to gun violence, the impact is felt throughout the community. >> she's shot. she is shot. >> layla peterson's family is in inimaginable pain. >> last november bullets ripped through a house on milwaukee's northwest side tilling layla sitting on her grandfather's lap
reading with her older sister before bed time. her mother remembers clearly the day her father called with the news. >> everything was just flashing lights. i didn't know what to think or do or where to go. i didn't know what was going on. i didn't know anything. >> authorities say 12 bullets were fired into the home during a drive-by shooting with one hitting little layla in the head. >> it's so mind-boggling because you don't know why. every single day, it's why? why did this happen? if i could have some type of reason why, it might be a little bit of a better closure. >> ashley may have found that closure. almost a year to date of laylah's death, police reveal the arrest of three suspects in the case. >> they went to the wrong house. >> an emotional police chief flynn told reporters and the family the case stuck with him.
>> i've been carrying something around with me for a year. it's laylah. i'd like to think we can put her to rest now. >> they killed my baby, mr. nixon. he shot on 17 streit and laid in the alley. >> as the death toll continues to climb, they continue to work around the clock in hopes of reaching as many young people as they can. >> as you know, this was a bloody summer in milwaukee. >> it wasn't supposed to be like this. >> family is like you all are a little bunch of walking time bombs. >> how bad is it? >> how bad is it? today we get a class with a young man. he's 16 years old and he says i don't want to be vulnerable, correct? he says as a 16-year-old male it is easier for me to die than to go on. he's saying i would rather quit than to keep fighting.
how bleak is it for a young person in milwaukee? anytime you're a 16-year-old and say i'm better off dead than alive, that's how bleak it is. >> gun violence continues to climb in chicago, but when one mother had enough of the bloodshed, she took a stand. at the top of the hour, tensions soar after occur key shoots down a russian war plane that crossed its air space. president obama and his french counterpart discuss the best ways to confront isil and bring the wear in syria to an end diplomatically. the nurburg trials. terror view. a smartphone app that warns of potential attacks. all of that is coming up in the
in the national spotlight whether it comes to gun violence. a group of mothers is taking to the streets to stop the violence. they hope their presence will help prevent more deadly shootings. >> go get me a lighter. i'm going to do t. i'm going to strt the fire today. everybody want a sandwich, get over here. >> the charcoal grill is out and the smell of a summer barbecue blankets a block on chicago's south side, but this is more than an average neighborhood get-together. >> you got it, man. >> a group of mothers have taken to the streets in the city's inglewood neighborhood. they hope their presence will deter the kind of violence that has claimed hundreds of lives across the city so far this year. >> in order to save my children, i have to try to save everyone else's. >> we have to stay out of trouble. >> she never lost a child to gun
violence, but she's fighting to make sure she never does. >> i was thinking that just as mothers control things, keep things under control in their homes, i figure we can do it in our communities as well. this summer what we thought we'd do is we'd take moms and we go and kind of set up shop on blocks, on the worst blocks, on the blocks that have the most challenges that are the most violent. >> i'm putting on the moms on patrol shirt so everybody knows i'm here. >> after a shooting death in the inglewood neighborhood earlier this year, she created mothers against senseless killings or - m.a.s.k., which is a group of volunteers patrolling the streets. they want to stop the gun violence even if for a few hours. >> who knew it would work. it did work. i don't want to have all those sandwiches gone. >> the women and now the men from m.a.s.k. commit to crows
for four hours every afternoon. neighbors and strangers from out of state start to drop off donations of cash and supplies in support. she says that the grassroots effort created a safe place in an otherwise embattled neighborhood. >> what we have done is created an outdoor community center, like an open area community center. any given day you can catch kids playing cards or throwing a football or jumping rope or just hanging out sitting around and just talking about each other's mamas. >> doing yoga? >> doing yoga. we do yoga as well. you mes with my shokra. we exercise together and do a lot together. >> we can hug it out. >> no one wants it shoot anyone or get shot when they're doing yoga. >> help me up. >> i mean, like, it's just --
that's not okay. you can't shoot somebody when they're doing yoga or eating dinner. or cooking, or you know -- you can't do that. it takes them out of that frame of mind. i mean, no one's angry. no one's hostile. one's scared or feeling any of those things, and those are the things that most of the time lead to violence. >> she was born and raised in the very neighborhood she watches over. she says her job doesn't end when she leaves the block. >> when i leave the block at night, i'm still making phone calls, and i'm asking hey, where are you? what are you doing? go in the house. it's too late to be out. i love seeing them every day and knowing we got to do this again today, and we made it through the night. we're making it through the this summer. i can't imagine what it would be like if i wouldn't have ever went into that neighborhood. >> most of the time when the media comes here, it's because of headlines. >> 500 people shot and killed.
holiday weekend ruined. you know the headlines and the stories. you've heard all of this. you live here. >> uh-huh. >> can you make a change? >> absolutely. absolutely. we've already started to make the change. it's not us necessarily making the change. it's our children that are changing. and they're changing before my my very eyes. before last month they didn't have options but they do now. >> you have issues right about now, don't you, boo-boo? >> there are obstacles and not necessarily the ones she expected. >> i thought that the kids would be my biggest problem and the obstacle. whether i got there, the kids were so welcoming. it's like they kind of needed whatever it was that i was offering, whether it was a hug or food or whatever it was. they needed it. it was the police that didn't necessarily care for it. it has proven to me that our
biggest obstacle is our relationship with law enforcement. it really is. it's not necessarily the kids. the kids actually see the police as maybe as an african-american person the police are the boogie man and the monster under the bed. >> in the time you've done this, what's your highest high and your lowest low? >> there have been instances when i had one of my boys tell me he didn't want the gang tattoos anymore and wanted to go to school. and other kids don't want to sell drugs no more. my lowest low is the day that a young man was murdered on another block. he had just been out with us the day before, and i had just seen him the day before. he's just out getting food, and the next morning, he was gone. >> what did you do? >> the shooting death caused her for a moment to doubt her efforts, a feeling she quickly
let go of when one of the kids told her she was needed. >> that had to be, you know, my lowest low, but one of my guys put it in proper perspective. that's why i do what i do. i realize there are going to be days like that. i'm not god and i can't control everything. you know, this is still all very new. we're working on it. like he said, it was one. it could have been ten. so, i mean, that's just going to have to be good enough for me right now. >> the story doesn't end there. we first met her and her army of moms this summer when they originally intended to stop the patrols at the end of labor day weekend. as the death toll continues to climb, she's once again on the streets asking for a ceasefire. we caught up with her on a recent evening. this time she expanded her territory and joined forces with other anti-violence groups. the effort follows the burst of violence that came after two consecutive weekends in which
more than 50 people were shot. >> that should be a wake-up call to every parent and adult out here. everybody who sees this, everyone who lives her needs to get involved. i'm so glad to see this out here. >> last time you told me your patrols would end at the end of summer. you're still out. what's going on? >> people keep shooting each other and killing other people, and i found that, you know, as much as i would like to have got off the clock labor day, murder hasn't taken a break. >> i love everybody. we've seen what works. we have to have a willingness to do it. the numbers keep climbing, and more people have to get involved. >> how would you finish the sentence, if you really knew me? >> if you really knew me, you would know that i'm a realist. i will find a way to stop this. we will find a way to stop this. i do not give up. if you really knew me, you would know that i'm stronger than all of this.