Joey-Tonia Thomasson Remembers her Sister, Ebony:
My sister, Ebony Parson was affectionately nicknamed “Ebby Faye” by her family and loved ones. She was full of life and her smile lit up the room. She was one of fifteen children--our father was taken by gun violence when Ebony was a baby. Ebony and I would sit up late night singing and we called our music company, “Low Budget Records.” We felt we gave hope to those without because I couldn’t sing!
On Saturday, September 14th, 2013, my sister Ebony was murdered. Her estranged boyfriend was out on bond for kidnapping and beating Ebony just ten days before. He told his family he planned to kill Ebony, then three days later he entered a local Bingo Hall, shot Ebony, and then turned the shotgun on himself. My sister witnessed the entire horrible event. My whole family lives with the lasting trauma every day, as do the twenty people who witnessed Ebony’s death.
After her murder, I founded Ebony’s Hope--an organization that helps Domestic Violence victims and their families with rent, utilities, and education assistance. Ebony’s Hope hosts an annual event where we invite local agencies so that anyone experiencing Intimate Partner Violence can learn about the resources available to victims and survivors. Ebony’s Hope’s mission is that not another man, woman or child should perish without knowing the resources in Horry & Georgetown County. Even in death, my sister Ebony continues to give hope to those without.
Kimberly Brusk shares her story:
It’s important for people to understand that women can’t just leave. Even if a geographical distance is put between women and their abusers, many individuals with a history of violence will use the judicial system to harass and bankrupt survivors. Please take a moment to read Kimberly’s story—she is forced to co-parent with the man who abused her for years:
In 2009, after a nearly decade long abusive marriage and a nasty assault, where her young daughter was thrown to the floor, Kimberly Brusk left her abusive husband and had him arrested. He posted bond. Kimberly filed for legal aid, a divorce, went to a domestic violence agency for assistance and got a restraining order. Four days out on bond on October 27, 2009, her abuser broke into her home with a loaded shotgun and sat waiting for her in the dark for four hours. He fired the shotgun when she entered the home telling her, "I told you not to leave me. Don't move!" Her abusive ex-husband is now out of prison and she is forced to coparent with the man who tried to kill her. Now nine years after her shooting Kimberly is battling to keep her daughter safe after the twelve year old reported abuse over the summer. Her fight for safety highlights the broken family court system.
Kimberly has devoted her professional life to violence prevention. She started her own domestic violence organization Women Against the Violence Epidemic - WAVE, and she worked as a speaker and Fellow at Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Everytown for six years. Kimberly is on the domestic violence advisory board for WAGV (Women Against Gun Violence) based in Los Angles and is on their speaker's bureau. She is on the Board of Directors at Survivors Lead, an organization completely run by abuse, sexual assault and gun violence survivors. Survivors Lead provides survivor support and helps survivors run for public office. Kimberly also works with Survivors Empowered, an organization created by Sandy Phillips the mother of Jessi, a victim of the Aurora theater shooting. Kimberly advocates for victims and survivors all across the country and works hard to change laws that endanger survivors. She has her own survivor blog, Kimberly Brusk: Domestic and Gun Violence Survivor Blog. Kimberly is now remarried with three kids and moved from Michigan where the shooting happened to Atlanta, Georgia in 2010 before her abuser was paroled from prison. She’s worked in prevention of family violence in Atlanta and nationally for eight years.
"Domestic violence abusers are some of the most predictable perpetrators of future violence. We will never solve gun violence in this country without addressing the dangerous intersection of abusive men and guns." -Kimberly Brusk
Darnella Wade shares her son, D’Onjay’s story:
“My son D'Onjay Jackson was shot in the head by a 17yr old boy. D'Onjay survived but he is severely disabled and unable to speak. I am his mother—I took to the streets to fight hate crimes like these, let's lay the guns down!” ~Darnella Renee