Support group forms for homicide victims’ families


Marcella Crosson, left, thanks Ken Maxwell as he presents her with a prayer shawl during a vigil held in honor of her son, Jamie Hiawatha Mitchell, who was killed in November 2010. (Credit: LAUREN CARROLL/JOURNAL)

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — With a slight breeze cooling a hot Thursday evening, Marcella Crosson lit a candle to remember her son, Jamie Hiawatha Mitchell, whom she playfully called “Pumpkin Head.”

Nearly two years ago, just a few houses away on Breck Avenue, Mitchell, 42, was shot to death, left to die on the porch outside his house. She said she doesn’t know who killed her son. Winston-Salem police haven’t been able to make an arrest, and she is left with the memories of a loving son with a wide smile who enjoyed making others laugh.

But she knows she is not alone in her grief. Besides having her family, she now has the support of a group of other women who have gone through the pain of losing a child through violence.

Broken Hearts, Better Days is a support group created four years ago by Vigils for Healing, an interfaith ministry started by Tracey Maxwell and Bishop John and Deloris Huntley. Vigils for Healing holds spiritual observances, such as the one Thursday for Forsyth County homicide victims.

Broken Hearts, Better Days has evolved from just a simple support group into a lifeline for the families of those who need a space in which to deal with the often agonizing pain from losing a child suddenly to violence.

This article was written by Michael Hewlett and originally published by The Winston-Salem Journal. Click here to read the full story.

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