KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Kansas City continues to battle a violent crime problem, a group that works with families impacted by homicide is expanding its services in hopes of tearing down language and cultural barriers.
It’s been a decade since Latrice Murray lost her 17-year-old son Darreon to gun violence.
“Can’t say it gets better. I just say I’ve learned to use my pain and work with it. Because 10 years, this year with my son, I became angry all over again,” Murray said.
Part of what’s helped her heal is becoming an advocate with KC Mothers in Charge. Every week, she helps call 300 metro families impacted by gun violence.
“They have no idea the services we have have available. Sometimes they call and say, ‘What is my next step?’ They have no idea where to go from here,” Murray said.
In the immediate aftermath of a crime, from working with police and planning a memorial, to the weeks, months and years later, KC Mothers in Charge stands by families and connects them to free services, including grief counseling.
But the nonprofit’s noticed a growing trend with more families in the Hispanic communities of Kansas City being affected by violent crime.
“We have quite a few Hispanics we service, and they can’t understand us when we call. So it’s kind of a language barrier for them. So that’s why we reached out to the Northeast area,” Murray said.
A new partnership with the Mattie Rhodes Center will offer Spanish-language support groups.
“I think just knowing there’s an organization out there that is willing and wants to help them and can provide the resources they might not know that they need is amazing,” said Kelsey Mahoney, community resource coordinator with the Mattie Rhodes Center.
“I hope it blossoms to be a great partnership. I hope we get more families engaged,” Murray said.
The first “hope and healing” support group for Spanish-speaking families will be held this Thursday from 2-4 p.m. at the Mattie Rhodes Center on N. Topping Avenue.