‘My son’s been gone 20 years, but it always feels just like yesterday,’ says mom at gun violence gala

WEEKSVILLE, Brooklyn — It was the first inaugural gala of the Rohan Levy Foundation, and many of the people in the room shared something tragic in common: losing a relative to gun violence.

“I didn’t know what to do when my son passed away,” Nadine Sylvester, the gala organizer, told PIX11 News.

So Nadine Sylvester started the Rohan Levy Foundation after her 15-year-old son was killed by a bullet intended for someone else in 2017.

At the Weeksville Heritage Center, she was surrounded by other mothers who’ve also lost their sons to senseless gun violence.

“They have embraced me and provided support,” Sylvester told PIX11 News. “They know what we are all going through,” she added.

Marie Delus, the NYC Team Lead of Moms Demand Action, said part of the way to end gun violence is by “working together in our community, making sure guns are owned by legal ownership and not trafficked to felons and young people.”

One of these mothers still has an unsolved fatal shooting of her son.

Natasha Christopher’s son Akeal died on a street in Bushwick in 2012 and no one has been arrested in seven years.

“On June 27, 2012, my 14-year-old son Akeal was shot while walking home from a high school graduation party,” Christopher told PIX11 News.

“He survived for 14 days, and then died on his 15th birthday, July 10, 2012,” she added.

“My son’s been gone 20 years, but it always feels just like yesterday,” Sandra Rougier, another mother who lost her son to senseless gun violence, told PIX11 News.

Several politicians were honored for their work to end gun violence.

Among them, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

“I’ve heard the president and others talk about vaping, but 40,000 people are going to die from gun violence,” Williams said. “And I’ve heard no mention of that in the White House."

“We provide scholarships, we support young men and we do youth programs,” Sylvester, the founder of the Rohan Levy Foundation, told PIX11 News.

According to Rohan’s mother, this is just the beginning of the community coming together to stop gun violence.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect Delus' correct title.

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