D’Lonte Days’s last Twitter post said, “I refuse to be a statistic.” Less than a week later, on Oct. 11, he was fatally shot at his Landover home.
His mother, April Days, now is making sure her son’s statement stays true by creating a blog — Mothers Over Brutality, at www.mothersoverbrutality.org — to grieve and reach out to other Prince George’s County mothers who have lost children to violence, and be a positive voice for her son.
Days, of Landover, said she has been posting on the blog nearly daily since the death of her son, who would have turned 24 on Dec. 12.
“I was angry. I wanted to write and speak from the heart,” she said. “Since I’ve started, I’ve connected with others who are experiencing what I’m experiencing now. There’s just so much pain. How do you get past it?”
Whether it be a random thought that comes to mind, citing a Bible scripture or making a call to action to end violence, she said writing has helped her see that there are other mothers experiencing similar tragedies.
“I don’t have a lot of advice. This is still fresh for me. I’m hoping that what I do put out is helping people,” she said. “One person responded to me with her own story of how she lost her brother. Other people have responded with prayers.”
D’Lonte’s godmother, Nicole Horton, said she and April Days grew up together, and the blog has been a great way for mothers to connect with one another and reflect on their lost loved ones.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Horton, 39, of District Heights. “It takes a lot of courage to do what she’s doing now that her son has passed.”
Family members have supported Days’s efforts and said the blog is a way to call for positive change in the community and highlight her son’s life.
“After everything happened, we’ve been amazed at how strong April has been. . . . She has a lot of anger and hurt, so this is her way of releasing her feelings,” said her sister, Erica Willis, 29, of Beltsville. “If he said it himself, we have to make sure that [a statistic is] not what he becomes. We’re doing everything we can to support my sister and advocate for him.”
April Days said her son was taking accounting classes through Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, a national tax preparation service company, and he received his GED through Suitland High School.
She said before her son’s death she didn’t pay much attention to violence in the county. She said she would see stories in the news, but didn’t view them the way she does now.
As of Dec. 24, Prince George’s police have reported 61 homicides this year, an improvement from last year’s 95 total, Prince George’s County police have said.
D’Lonte Days’ homicide investigation remains unsolved, as county police continue to investigate.
“The case is still active, and detectives are following all available leads,” said Lt. Bill Alexander, a county police spokesman.
April Days said she has not tracked traffic statistics for her blog. She is consistently posting new entries and receiving positive feedback. She said she wants the blog to grow so more parents are comforted.
On Dec. 12, she took to her blog and wrote, “My beautiful son, tears are flowing as I write this. HAPPY 24th BIRTHDAY My love!!! On this day 24 years ago, I was finally able to meet you after carrying you in my womb for nine months. . . . Although you are out of arms reach, you are embedded in my heart forever.”