Chicago photographer to showcase moms who've lost children to police-involved shootings

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FOX 32 NEWS - A group of mothers who have all lost children to police-involved shootings is coming together with a common cause.

The women are hoping that by sharing their stories they can bring about change and prevent future tragedies.

It was a photo shoot prompted by a much more painful shooting that in this case left Kimberly Handy-Jones in the heartbreaking situation of having to bury her 29-year-old son, Cordale.

“I'll never be able to hug him again, It's a hurtful thing, you know you raise a kid and you just never see this coming, you never think it'll be you,” said Handy-Jones.

Cordale, who was from Waukegan, was shot to death by St. Paul Minnesota Police who responded to a domestic situation March 15th. Police say he pointed a gun at them and refused to drop it, but witnesses said Cordale was unarmed when he was shot.

“I just want you to reminisce as we're taking this portrait because I want to see in your eyes the love you had for him, the care that you had for him and now the pain,” said Chicago photographer Sandro Miller.

Handy-Jones is one of more than two dozen mothers coming together for the Truth, Hope and Justice Initiative.

Renowned Chicago photographer Sandro Miller has planned several exhibits encapsulating these mothers' stories of loss and pain.

“For me the message isn't an anti-policeman campaign at all, I think it's an awareness campaign of what can we do to change what's going on around the country,” Miller said.

The family of Jose Nieves is also participating in this project. His mother has found a kinship with the other moms who are dealing with the same pain.

“To talk about it is very important because you can communicate, because you know that pain and it helps hearing each other speak because then you realize things that you didn't realize before and it sooths and comforts the heart,” said Nieves’ mother Brunilda Torres.

Nieves was killed three months ago after a verbal altercation with an off-duty Chicago police transit officer who has since been charged with murder.

“When he was killed, not only did this man kill my son, he killed our family,” Torres said.

This is the second series of photo shoots and interviews, and it doesn't end here.

“Any one case isn't that powerful, but when you talk about getting 50, 100, 200 mothers together to tell their stories, we wanted to create a platform that they could come together and have their voices be heard,” said Andrew Stroth of the Truth, Hope and Justice Initiative.

“There has to be a change and if my son's death can change things and if I can save one kid, then I've done something,” Handy-Jones said.

In addition to an exhibit on social media, photographer Sandro Miller is doing interviews with these mothers and plans to produce a documentary on their stories.