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Founder Of Mother's In Charge Continues Fight To Keep Gun Violence Issue Alive

By Jericka Duncan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - President Obama recognized gun violence victims during the State of the Union on Tuesday. He also put pressure on Congress to act on his proposals that are supposed to toughen gun laws.

Eyewitness News sat down with one local woman, who was in D.C. fighting to keep the gun violence issue alive on behalf of her son.

President Obama's state of the union address had a heavy focus on gun violence.

Parents of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, gunned down in Chicago, set next to the First Lady.

Philadelphia's Mother's In Charge founder, Dorothy Johnson-Speight, met with Pendleton's mother.

"She admired a necklace of mine that I was wearing and I took it off and gave it to her. She said 'Are you kidding?' I said 'No. I want you to have it. I want you to know there's a mother in Philadelphia who understands your pain,'" said Speight.

Speight lost her son, Kahaaliq Johnson in 2001. A man, who was not a registered gun owner, shot her son to death over a parking space.

"We have to be the voice for our children who don't speak anymore," she said.

It's the reason why Speight opened a "Mother's In Charge" office in Chicago this year.

It's why "Mayor's Against Illegal Guns" brought her and hundreds of others like her to D.C for a State of the Union watch party.

"That was empowering for one, to know that I'm not really out there by myself," Speight explained.

She spent a moment with First Lady Michelle Obama. She gave her a copy of a "Mothers In Charge" book filled with stories from woman who've lost their children to gun violence.

Speight says she understands the people's right to own a gun.

Her issue, she says, is when guns end up in the wrong hands.

"Teenagers, people with mental health issues or long criminal histories, it's about preventing them from getting guns," said Speight. "Our children have a right too. They have a right to be safe in their communities, not have to worry about AK-47s, things like that, in their communities."

This May Mother's In Charge will mark 10 years with a national conference on gun violence held at the Sheraton near 17th and Race.

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