MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – If you’ve driven through Binghampton lately, you’ve no doubt seen a group of people selling snow cones and holding signs asking you to honk to end gun violence.
That effort was started by a Joyce Johnson whose son was shot to death in that very neighborhood.
“I never thought I’d be in the community to where I grew up my son would be shot 11 times from senseless gun violence,” said Johnson.
Johnson no longer lives in the neighborhood, but her roots and some family remain. Binghampton is also where her son, Tremaine Lee Autry, was shot and killed five years ago.
“My son and I had true conversations,” said Johnson.
Binghampton is in Johnson’s blood, and she knows most of the folks there. She’s stood with her sister and young people on Tillman Street across from the community center selling cool treats and holding signs soliciting honks hoping to get the message across that gun violence is ruining lives.
Autry was a top student here at East High School, graduating with honors in 2009, but Johnson says the choices he made lead to a sad end.
Johnson admits it was ultimately her son’s involvement with drugs that brought his untimely death, but she’ll continue to wear her Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America button like a badge and her camouflage hat for the battle to save lives.
Whatever pennies Johnson raises goes to help another family cope with a loss to gun violence, but to her it’s really about the message.
“I just hope I can help another young man or another young lady who may be struggling with some difficulties, choices,” said Johnson. “That’s what we talk about. Making choices.”