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Miami mom turns pain of losing son into action by raising awareness to end gun violence

Miami woman makes it her mission to raise awareness about gun violence
Miami woman makes it her mission to raise awareness about gun violence 02:09

PALMETTO BAY - When Romania Dukes thinks about her 18-year-old son De'Michael Dukes, love is the first word that comes to mind.

"De'Michael was like a child who would knock on my door and tell everyone 'I love you'. He did that out of all my kids, he would always say I love you," said Dukes.

De'Michael enjoyed rapping, hanging out with his friends and family, but the joy of his life was his daughter, De'Maya Dukes.

"She was the light of him. She changed his life around," said Dukes, but on July 21, 2014, life took an unexpected turn for De'Michael and his family.

"My son was killed by a stray bullet. My son passed away in my arms the way I gave birth to him," said Dukes.

To this day, De'Michael's murder remains unsolved.

"This pain is in me until I die. There's no expiration date," said Romania.

But through this tragedy, Romania turned her pain into purpose and created Mother's Fighting for Justice, an organization that helps families affected by gun violence.

"That's why I fight so hard. I don't wany any mom to go through what I went through," said Dukes.

Over the weekend, Dukes along with dozens of community members gathered for National Gun Violence Awareness weekend.

During the event, Dukes and other advocates handed out much-needed supplies to families in need.

"We gave out thousands of diapers; we gave out gunlocks. There were so many parents in need of gunlocks," said Dukes.

Dukes says she's trying to unite the community and police every day in hopes of building stronger relationships.

Miami-Dade County even gave her a proclamation last week for her years of work.

It's a mission that's taken over Dukes' life for the last decade, but it's all a labor of love for her son, De'Michael.

"I go so hard for my son, and he's in heaven with some of his friends, so I'm just going hard for all of them," said Dukes.

Mother's Fighting for Justice will hold their 10th annual walk on Saturday, July 20th. For more information, visit

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