Moving from Darkness Into the Light

A sign memorializing Kenneth Mitchell. Brenda Mitchell’s hopes for the mindfulness meditation program she started in early January are being realized. “It’s great; I’m really opening up. I’m identifying with being present in the moment and understanding what that is.” 

Brenda, who is a pastor and had her son, Kenneth Mitchell, killed by gun violence in 2005, is a lifeline for other mothers who’ve suffered the same trauma. She is a staunch ally of Survivors Empowered, and operates on multiple fronts, with direct support to peers, group facilitation and policy advocacy as well. 

Mitchell’s home community of Chicago is replete with challenges. 

“There are traumas faced every day – mothers who have lost children to gun violence, and those who have lost family members to COVID as well, which is higher for people of color.”

Brenda appreciates her fellow students in the program. “A lot of them I know. It’s great, seeing the diversity and other experiences, how we’re all coming together in a unified manner...and learning to be present with ourselves,” she says. 

The beginning of the certificate program hosted by UCSD comes at a resonant time, Brenda believes. 

“This last year has felt very dark, damning and chaotic. Movement through it has not been easy. [Now with] the new president, and the honor given to the COVID survivors, and everything that happened during the inauguration...people have  a new hope, and an ability to come out of the darkness into the light of what could be.”

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