ST. LOUIS – Two mothers who say the justice system has failed them are speaking out.
“We, as black mothers, are saying enough is enough,” said Sylvia Bennett-Stone.
Bennett-Stone and Johnetta Doss both have teenage daughters who were murdered.
Both mothers have gone through pain on top of pain, and then the legal system added more pain. They’ve joined forces from across the county as part of the group, Voices of Black Mothers United.
“Held me by my hand and my arm and was like, I got you; we’re going to make it through this,” Doss said.
Doss’ daughter, Carieal, was shot and killed in St. Louis just before her scheduled graduation from Parkway West High School in Ballwin, Missouri.
The shooter’s case was recently dismissed by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney after reports that the office mishandled evidence in the case.
Bennett-Stone, who is from Alabama, claims that the justice system failed her as well, but in her case, she claims that a jury was to blame rather than the prosecutor.
“The young man identified as the shooter was acquitted; the young man who drove the car—the shooter was in, is serving time,” Bennett-Stone said.
They’re holding a ‘Survivor’s Ball’ Friday night in Florissant.
“Our youth are killing our youth, so there’s a deterioration of a whole culture and generation that is happening, and it must stop,” Bennett-Stone said.
Both women hope families bonding through trauma can help save others from dying of broken hearts. Bennett-Stone said it happened to a friend.
“I didn’t know that broken heart syndrome was real until we lost her, and I had to be very intentional about living,” she said.
The Mayo Clinic even has a page dedicated to this little-known syndrome. These women said there’s survival in uniting.
“My days haven’t really been happy since I lost my daughter,” Doss said. So to know there is another mother out there rooting for me, pushing me, speaking life in me. It means a lot.”
Friday night’s Survivor’s Ball is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Anthony’s Place, located at 12960 New Halls Ferry Road in Florissant.
To learn about Voices of Black Mothers United, click here.