MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis artist is teaming up with families that have lost loved ones to gun violence.
They are part of a movement called “Enough Minneapolis” that started this month.
The social media campaign started featuring photos of family members of those who have been murdered through gun violence in Minneapolis.
The artist behind the pictures, Nikki McComb, told WCCO she hopes this will give families of victims some comfort and convince others using guns illegally to lay down their weapons.
“I’ve thought over and over and over, ‘What can I do? How do I do something?’ and art just comes right back to me ,” McComb said.
Living without their loved ones, each one of the people participating in one of the photo shoots on Friday said they know the ones who pass away are not the only victims of gun violence.
Two months ago, Nene Griffin watched her 58-year-old grandmother die beside her in their family minivan.
Birdell Beeks was shot by a stray bullet during a dispute she had nothing to do with
“I was calling my mom and everybody else was calling the police,” Griffin described of the moments after her grandmother was shot. “I just wanted my grandma to be OK and she wasn’t talking to me.”
“I’m like, ‘Nanny, say something to me please,’ and she closed her eyes and I knew that I couldn’t help her,” Griffin said. “I beat myself up every day because I wanted to help her.”
Still trying to help her grandmother, alongside her brother Rob Griffin and other family members of the murdered, Griffin said she has had enough.
“It means enough of all of this,” McComb said of the group name. “Stop shooting each other.”
Luther Jones was also at Friday’s photo shoot.
His 2-year-old nephew Le’vonte King Jason Jones was killed by gunfire two weeks ago.
“That’s a little baby that I really loved, and to see him at his funeral not really moving or saying anything was just really hard,” Luther Jones said.
Takisha Randle’s son was 25 years old when he was shot to death this year.
Jimmy Stanback was a father himself, but his mother said he will always be one of her babies.
“We are all tired of losing someone,” Randle said. “The pain is very tremendous and it never goes away.”
The families are holding on to memories and hoping to reach others in a way words often cannot.
“Pictures and videos speak louder than words,” Griffin said. “I want to make a statement that this is enough. People don’t realize how many people actually get hurt by gun violence every day.”
A 31-year-old man has been arrested in connection with 2-year-old Le’vonte Jones’ murder.
The cases of Beeks and Stanback have not yet led to arrests.
Minneapolis police along with these families are hoping for more leads and for anyone with information about these crimes to come forward.
Tips can be submitted anonymously to the police.
If you wish to help the project, a GoFundMe has been set up.
And click here to buy an “Enough” shirt from “Shirts With A Message.”