CHICAGO — There may be flowers and balloons, but Mother’s Day is anything but happy for some local moms.
The world keeps going, but our world has stopped because our babies are gone,” said Shantinel Laws, whose daughter, Jerrica, left home in Park Forest more than six years ago and never returned.
“Jerrica was a God-fearing young lady,” Laws said. “When she went missing, now she’s 30 and the detective really didn’t believe me when I said she didn’t have a boyfriend, she didn’t have Facebook, she didn’t have Snapchat or Twitter, she didn’t have that type of life.”
Mothers of missing children gathered downtown Sunday, sharing a bond few others do.
“You have to get up and prepare yourself to go through another day without your child,” said Karen Phillips, mother of Kierra Coles.
Coles was a postal worker last seen near her home in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood in October 2018. She was three months pregnant at the time.
“I don’t know if she had her baby, if she’s safe, is she not with us anymore,” Phillips said. “I need to have closure on however this is going to be for us.”
Closure is what the family of King Walker and his aunt Diamond Bynum have been waiting on for nearly seven years. They vanished from a family member’s home in Gary. This week is King’s 9th birthday.
“This is another Mother’s Day without my only son,” mother Arianna Walker said.
The grieving mothers said they want to ensure their children’s names and stories aren’t forgotten. Activists promise a renewed push for answers.
“I’m going to have an attorney that works with my organization meet with every mother with regard to this problem because here’s the thing: had these mothers, these children had been white, there’ve been mountains moved,” said Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef.
Amid the mountains of anguish, the moms say reuniting with their loved ones is their biggest wish of all.
“The system is broken and shouldn’t no mother, father, sister, brother, whomever – they shouldn’t have to go through this,” Laws said. “It hurts too bad. It hurts too bad.”