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Mount Vernon Mothers Take Stand Against Violence

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon resident Nazarene Duncan said she will not let “thugs” drive her and her family out of the city.

To combat gun violence, Duncan formed Mothers Actively Making A Difference (MAMAD) in March, a group committed to reaching out to mothers who lost their children too soon through gun violence. Duncan said that two years ago, her daughter, who was 19 at the time, and son, who was 21, were ambushed in Mount Vernon by a gunman. She said the gunman held a gun to her son’s head, but the weapon misfired and spared his life.  Her daughter attempted to run to her car and was also shot at, she said.

“I gained a lot of strength through that whole process but not a lot of support,” Duncan said. “Victim’s assistance was there but once the hoopla was gone they didn’t call me as much.”

Duncan said she became depressed and formed MAMAD to seek resources that were not available to her during her struggle.  Duncan said she was also angry to find out Mount Vernon didn’t have a homicide unit in its police department, adding that at least four members of MAMAD have not found their children’s killers.

“They shot at my home and followed my car and I just got tired of being a hermit in my own home,” Duncan said. “Something needs to be done. I was told to move but I was raised here and so was my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother. There was a time in Mount Vernon where you could walk on the street and only have to worry about a stray dog.”

Duncan said that one of the key things Mount Vernon can do is bring back free programs like the Police Athletic League (PAL) or hold camps for kids. Duncan said that she wants MAMAD to be a liaison between the community and the police department to build trust that she said has since been broken.

MAMAD meets once a week. Duncan said she is opening up the program to the entire community and anyone who wants to join can contact her by email . The group can also be reached at: M.A.M.A.D, P.O Box 3547,  Mount Vernon, N.Y. 10553

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