One of former Mayor Thomas Menino’s biggest issues was getting guns off the streets, helping local organizations and people who knew gun violence first hand, as well as powerful political leaders.
Deborah Wornum, lost her 25-year-old son Aaron in 2011 after he was shot and killed around the corner from her Dorchester home.
“My baby’s last words to me was I’ll be right back, and he died in my arms,” Wornum said.
She said after that, she wrote the mayor a letter concerning what the city was doing about gun control.
“I wasn’t sure that he was going to respond or how long it was going to take to respond but within a matter of a week or two, he did respond and he met with me,” Wornum said.
Menino not only met with her but dozens of other mothers who lost children to violence. The group organized becoming Mothers for Justice and Equality. They said Menino even helped to organize a trip for the women to meet with Michelle Obama at the White House.
“It was more than just going there and being a voice. It sent a message to them that your voice matters and you matter and that’s the type of relationship that he took with a lot of these families to show them that I do care,that this is not just politics as usual,” said Monalisa Smith, a founder of Mothers for Justice and Equality.
And it wasn’t just about Boston gun control. Mayor Menino took on the issue nationally with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, creating Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan group of mayors around the country.
Menino’s influence can be seen all around the Roxbury office of the Mothers for Justice and Equality organization. They say it’s a tribute for a man that understood.
It’s a message Wornum says she thinks about often when she thinks about her own son’s legacy.
“My son was such a love and he was 25 years old. He was an aspiring musician. He was working to create music and he was helping kids to teach children music. Something positive, go ahead and get it done and that’s the legacy my son’s left behind,” she said.
When asked about what she thought Menino’s legacy would be, Wornum responded, “he’s got many legacies. He helped us all in many different ways.”