BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Families in the Baton Rouge area are familiar with the impact of senseless gun violence.

Albert Hawkins, 21, a member of 100 Black Men of Baton Rouge, was killed in August. Louis Robinson served in the Army for six years and was the father of three. Louis was shot and killed in 2018 and his case remains open. Allison Rice’s life was cut short when she was killed waiting at a train crossing on Government Street. These are just three stories out of hundreds in the capital area who lost their lives to gun violence.

The journey of grief has been different for each parent, but they share one common goal, putting an end to violence. The mothers and father are turning their grief into purpose.

“I know the Lord has me on this journey,” said Liz Robinson, mother of Louis Robinson. “This is not what I chose.”

Liz Robinson is leading the group called CHANGE, an organization that helps families who lost a loved one. Her efforts have reached national attention and even worked with White House officials. Robinson says it takes a village for real change.

“There are so many factors that cause gun violence,” she says. “You have parents on drugs, fathers in jail. We have to get to the root of our problems and find out why our kids are doing this. They need somebody to show them love.”

Ms. Robinson showed up at Hawkin’s door after Albert’s death as a shoulder to lean on. Hawkins is now advocating for mental health and against gun violence alongside Ms. Robinson.

“My heart just goes out to families, because one minute it can be okay and one minute it can be fragile for you,” said Hawkins.

While the Rice family waits on answers from the police, they are launching the Allie Rice Foundation, a non-profit that will provide scholarships and focus on combating gun violence. The family hopes this will help shift the culture in the city.

“Our community wasn’t like this when I was growing up. It’s changed so much. But, whether I live in Ascension parish now, Baton Rouge is still our home base. We need some more pride in where we live,” said Rice.

Despite the hardship, the parents continue to talk about the memories they cherish.

“Any kind of road trip we would take together we would have our playlist that always got played,” said Rice.

“Christmas is hard. You know my son ‘mama food ready?’ You know you’re used to hearing those phone calls or ‘mama what you got me?’ Or him bringing me a gift,” said Robinson.

“He was just our spirit, outgoing, loving, and loved to cook,” said Hawkins.

The deaths of their children have brought a new purpose to the parents. They promise to make sure no mother or father will live in their shoes.

“We all say a prayer for each other every night. We all recognize and understand what each other is going through,” said Rice. “It’s great that we have someone that we can talk to that know what we’re going through.”