SAVANNAH, Ga. – In 2016, the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department recorded 50 homicides.
For the Pastures, Bryan and Lanier families, that statistic hits home. Each has had a son murdered in the past five years.
William George Anderson, Lawrence Bryan IV and James Pastures are three of the names etched on the wall of those murdered in the Savannah in the past few years.
While the parents are still struggling with their loss they are resolved to forgive and work to turn their test into their testimony.
“To walk up to a man who has a light that is bright as Bill’s, as Lawrence, as J’s and put that beautiful light out. I’m concerned about those sons,” Bernetta Lanier said.
Since their deaths, these parents are all working to make Savannah a better place to call home for all families.
“So we need all the people who are interested in a safe Savannah to come to the table and recognize the fact that we’re going to have to deal with the low income communities that are adjacent to downtown Savannah,” Lanier said.
All three families agree that a reoccurring cycle of poverty and a lack of education contribute to the violence in low-income neighborhoods. They say they are resolved to bring about opportunities for employment and schooling for children of all ages, especially elementary school children.
This change, they say, is brought about through a collective effort.
“I can tell you that village that everybody talks about we’re getting white mothers, Hispanic mothers cause I understand diversity is what’s going to change this. We’ve got to have real conversations,” Linda Wilder-Bryan said.
And for those mothers who also have lost sons to murder?
“Get involved. Do not give up. We met a mother her son was murdered twenty years ago and she says she has given up. I said, ‘ma’am, it doesn’t matter how long it takes never give up,'” Michelle Pastures said.