Mothers for Safe Cities is a club that no one wants to join. It’s a group of moms who have lost their children to gun violence. They meet in a church basement in East Flatbush, a neighborhood in central Brooklyn that has long experienced high rates of violence. At least one new member has joined since the pandemic unleashed a wave of gun violence in New York City.

The second installment of The Damage Done, a documentary series by BRIC TV and The Trace, focuses on these mothers as they grapple with grief, mental health, and a will for no one else’s child to die. The homicide case of one mother’s son is in court, while another remains unsolved. For the mothers whose children’s cases have been solved, daily struggles remain as they process their losses and advocate for change. 

“None of us should be here, but it’s what it is right now,” said Maxine Lewis, whose son, Carlton Locksley Bennett, was killed. “We can’t stop it. It has to be bigger than us.”

The Trace helped Brooklyn-based BRIC TV develop a series of documentaries exploring the nuances of violence, how individuals and their communities are coping with loss and disruption, and also how they’re catalyzing efforts to make their city safer.

Watch the full episode here: