Long Beach Church Honors Mothers Whose Children Died of Violence

9 May
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Rev. Michael Eagle, May 6, posing with Mexican Dancers; Photo by Barry Saks

About 50 people, mostly African-Americans and mostly from the congregation of the Grant AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church Long Beach, at 1129 Alamitos Ave., on Sunday, May 7—heard music, poetry, testimonials and comedy—as part of a program to honor mothers who lost their children to violence.

An outside processional was planned to be included in the program of the tenth annual event, however, with the pouring rain, the Rev. Michael Eagle decided to have the processional around the inside perimeter of the church, which were led Mexican dancers, who the Reverend had invited.

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District Director of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, May 7,  presenting Certificate of Special Recognition to Rev. Eagle of Grant AME Church Long Beach; Photo by Barry Saks

Following the processional, Blanca Jimenez, District Director for Congresswoman Maxine Waters, said she was honored to be there representing the Congresswoman and presented to Rev. Eagle a Certificate of Special Recognition to acknowledge the church putting on the event of “Making Mothers Matter.”

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Lietenant Commander David Efferson of California Highway Patrol, on May 7, suggesting ways to stay safe when being stopped by a police officer; Photo by Barry Saks

After the church choir sang, Lieutenant Commander David Efferson, of the California Highway Patrol, spoke.  The Lieutenant Commander told audience the CHP, after evaluating its recruitment program, understood the need to recruit more minorities, including women.  He then suggested some safety tips when being stopped by a police officer: be sure to stop at a safe location, turn the lights on in the vehicle, put your hands where they are visible, preferably on the steering wheel, and tell the officer before you do something what you’re about to do.

After Efferson, the church congregation gave the mothers gifts and two mothers told their personal stories of tragedy.

Comedian Jonathan Slocumb was the master of ceremonies, church member Brenda Calhoun read one of her poems, and comedian and impressionist Jay LaMont and jazz vocalist Eloise Laws, who sang and danced, entertained.

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Pastor Eddie Jones Jr. at the ‘Mothers Matter Event’ on May 7; Photo by Barry Saks

A participant was Minister Eddie Jones.  He pointed out while he is a minister and pastor, at this church he is only member.  The Minister said, “This (event) is for mothers who lost their kids because of gun and gang violence, suicides, car accidents.  He added one result of these yearly events is the mothers who have lost their children, are able to bond with each other.

Another participating church member was Kisha Frazier, who said she has been going to the church all of her life.  Frazier, who said she was there to greet people, added, “I’m here to give my contribution to the mothers and let them know they have not been forgotten by the church (and) by the community.”

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