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Tangela Sears grew up around gun violence, and then spent a lifetime advocating against it.
But in 2015, she lost her son, David Queen, to the very cause she poured her life into.
She was honored Friday for her work in the community. She started a group, Parents of Murdered Children, and has made it her goal to support those who have gone through similar pain.
“I’m often getting calls from mothers whose kids are getting killed,” Sears said.
For the third year in a row, she’s supporting 24 hours of the Cease Fire campaign in Miami-Dade County. It kicked off Friday night at 7 p.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. Saturday.
County Mayor Carlos Giménez and local radio host Papa Keith are pushing the initiative to stop gun violence for a day and are even hosting the “People Matter” music festival Saturday, which is a chance for inner city kids to just have fun.
“This is an opportunity for people to put their guns down for 24 hours, put the beef aside, and reflect on it,” said the radio host for 103.5 The Beat. “Come out to the park, let your kids play with each other, have a good time and see what that looks like,”
Just this year, Miami-Dade police reported 36 homicides, down about 7.6% from this time last year.
For Sears, that number is still too high. And while 24 hours of Cease Fire is a good start, she says more needs to be done.
“No one is held responsible,” she said. “Our young people don’t seem to be afraid of the system today. When I was growing up, murder was a bad word. Today it’s just as simple as a minor theft charge.”
The People Matter Fest is on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Gwen Cherry Park in Liberty City. It’s free and open to the public.