MOMO’s Judy Williams fighting to live as Charlotte’s homicide number climbs

Updated: Jun. 21, 2019 at 4:55 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In her 26 years of working with Mothers of Murdered Offspring and helping families of homicide victims, Judy Williams has not seen such a time as this.

She’s battling lung cancer from second-hand smoke and confronting her own mortality while, at the same time, dealing with the city’s escalating murders, seeing the after-effects of lives lost for no good reason.

“Makes me want to live harder, longer because our young people are not seeing that,” said Williams. “I mean they don’t even have the battle that I’m fighting. I mean they can wake up every morning and go to work and go to school and look forward to a future. I don’t know what mine is yet but I’m fighting. Fighting with everything I got. Things are looking better.”

But it’s been a bleak six months for Charlotte.

As of this writing, police say 57 people have been killed so far this year. There were 58 homicides in all of 2018.

“What the heck is going on? What cloud burst? What evil has come down the middle of the year and taken us to where we were the whole year last year? It is just crazy. I don’t know what’s going on,” said Williams. “This is insanity and we’ve got to get our young people thinking about their futures."

"For some reason I don’t know why they don’t think they have a right to live past 25. Why don’t they think they got a right to live past 25 or past 20 or even past 18? Why they’re doing this risky behavior that can end their life so soon – thinking it won’t happen to them.”

In an interview with WBTV, Williams said from her perspective the murders are happening because of a variety of reasons.

  • Arguments:

“People are just reacting. Now they don’t have any patience. They don’t have any, it’s just about how you feel. People walking around with their feelings on their shoulders,” said Williams. “They’re not thinking about themselves or the person they’re having the altercation with or the problem with. Cause if you hurt them – you hurt yourself cause you’re gonna go to jail or you can end up being the one that’s killed.”

  • Drug deals gone bad:

“Every drug deal that goes bad – when they go into it setting it up they never think anything bad will happen to them. They never do. They always think well if they start something with me, I’m gonna start something with them. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out when you set out to do something wrong.”

  • Young people and guns:

“Babies, I mean their lives haven’t even started yet and they’re already on the wrong roads. They’re either dead or they’re going to jail. And it’s terrible and they’re getting younger and younger. I don’t know what we can do to get to our children and help them understand you do have a future,” said Williams. “It doesn’t have to be behind bars and it doesn’t have to be in a cemetery but you do have to make better decisions. It’s about choices. Bad choices are being made everywhere.”

From a woman who knows what it is to fight for life, Williams has a message for those who would take a life or engage in behavior that would risk theirs.

“I encourage our young people - please, please make better decisions. Please. Because you do have a bright future in front of you,” said Williams. “I know sometimes it may look a little vague and you know maybe you can’t get a job right away but don’t give up on yourself. Cause they’re giving up on themselves when they decide to do this risky stuff.”

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