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Weeping Eyes video aims to stop the ‘cycle of violence’

MESSAGE: The funeral scene being filmed in the Church of God of Prophecy in Nechells with Bishop Mike Wilson (centre)

THIS SOMBRE scene may not be a real life funeral, but the message here is rooted in reality – to end the cycle of death and violence by showing the next generation what can happen when young people try to solve their problems with guns and knives.

A group of anti-gun and knife crime campaigners and families directly affected by street crimes, have joined forces to produce a thought-provoking video called Weeping Eyes, which will be used in schools to get their message across.

SORROW

Award-winning Gospel singer Annette B, the woman behind the project, felt that something needed to be done when she met two grieving mothers overcome with sorrow during a church service in Birmingham.

“I was at the altar of my church recently with other people who needed prayer,” said Annette, who has worked for many years with Gleen Reid, the founder of the anti- gun crime charity Families for Peace, which Gleen launched following the death of her only son Corey in 2003.

“Gleen was standing next to me and I could see she was crying. It shocked me because Gleen is the sort of person who hardly ever cries - she is very strong.

“Then further along the altar I heard another mum, Valerie Dyer, weeping. Her son Leon was murdered in 2007.

“It made me realise there and then, that the pain for these mothers never goes away and that something needed to be done to highlight the consequences of what happens when young people become involved in gun and knife crime.”


SORROW: Gleen Reid (left) and Valerie Dyer

That night, Annette downloaded a track she had been sent and started to put words to the beat.

Within a week she had recorded the song Weeping Eyes and asked up to 20 artists to become involved.

HEAL

She said: “The aim of this project is not only to support the victims of these crimes, but the perpetrators’ families who are also grieving for what their children have done. Everyone needs to heal.”

A video is now being made to accompany the track. One of the scenes includes filming a funeral at the Church of God of Prophecy in Nechells, which was presided over by Bishop Mike Wilson.

He said: “We hope this video and Annette’s song will speak to the hearts and minds of those who are thinking about getting involved in this kind of violence. No more lives should be lost needlessly. We pray for life and peace in our communities.”

The funeral scene was filmed after Loving Memories Funeral Services agreed to take part in the project.
Local drama students and supporters of the church also took part.

Valerie’s 22-year-old son Leon was stabbed, and left to bleed to death in a park near her Birmingham home after being attacked by two men and a girl, who lured him to the park.

She said: “I hope this video and song will be a wake up call to stop any further deaths of our young people. Peace and reconciliation needs to come from this cycle of death and violence.”

Gleen added: “In some cases time can be a healer, but when you lose a child, time cannot heal. The pain never goes away. All your dreams and expectations for that child are lost. Some people feel you should be able to move on, but when your children have died in this way, it isn’t possible.”

Gleen still runs Families for Peace, although the group has suffered a funding crisis over the past two years.
The charity offers mentoring and counselling help to those affected by gun and knife crime.

Artists who are involved with project include Owen Uriah, Lytie, the band Legend and Denis McLean.

The video is almost completed and will be launched officially in Birmingham with the support of the city’s Lord Mayor.

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