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A Strong African Mother’s Voice
Cries Against Gun Violence, Black on Black Crime Turns Into Powerful Annual Rally
Lone Star Power Pages
DALLAS- For Melody “AFI” Bell, stopping gun violence is personal.
She lost her son Ishmael Mozeke to a violent attack over a year ago. It still is a senseless act that today remains a mystery and leaves Bell still wondering why.
“The weekend my son was murdered there were 4-6 other murders,” she said. “It was right after my son was killed that I decided to have a rally.”
Ishmael had goals and ambitions in life. He and his girlfriend were going to be physicians.
“My son Ishmael’s name means (Keeper of peace),” she said. “He was known in the community as a peaceful young man.”
According to Bell, she armed her son with positive knowledge of African ancestral traditions and encouraged him to participate in acting, dance, poetry and everything in the Arts. When he was killed, he also was working on a low budget film.
According to Bell, four men ages 19 to 21 years of age came in the truck and killed her son. His girlfriend survived the attack. The man who pulled the trigger got a 12-year sentence
As a child, Bell listened to stories told by her mother family members. She developed a love for teaching that led to a 10-year teaching career with the Dallas Public Schools as a Special educator.
Melody loved telling stories so much she became a Griot (gree-o) traveling across the the Southwest, U.S.A. storytelling and captivating everyone with her poems and songs
Her strong will, community spirit and determination even after crisis motivated The New Black Panther Party, The Act of Change, The Nation of Islam, Rev. Glover and Stovall and many of her friends, family and other organizations to rally round to stop gun violence.
“We don’t understand we are victims of an extremely violent society and country,” she said. “ Once we learn this and not uphold lies and wrongdoing, we can start to heal.”
Her movement continues and Bell said she would not stop until all the Black on Black homicide ends.
“The message has to go out because African people are 13-percent of the American population, but over 90-percent of them are in prisons,” she said. “The main message is we are attacked on a daily basis and then we turn around and attack each other. This must stop.”
She also seeks to raise awareness of an unbalanced sentencing and a criminal justice system in America is out of control and is helping breed this kind of violence.
Bell is also fighting to raise awareness over concerns about how the increasing exposure of children to violent video games is affecting youth and teaching children not to respect life.
“Children have to be taught respect for life at an early age in the African community,” she said. “We have to realize as a people that we are the creators of humanity.”
Bell said she is starting to heal and the rally has helped along with working in the ARTS. She said she would keep the rally alive and vows to make it an annual event.
“We have to realize today that our people’s lives mean nothing on the streets of America, especially African men,” she said. “I will bring this consciousness to our community because it is important to change things now before it is too late.”