Norfolk mother who lost son to gun violence hosting new podcast to help grieving families

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Posted at 11:36 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 17:20:45-04

NORFOLK, Va. - "On Earth as it is in Heaven," Janis Taylor says softly.

Taylor stood hand in hand, praying at a Stop the Violence Rally in Norfolk in Tuesday next to the parents of 15-year-old Kristopher Edmonds, who was killed just hours before.

"I am part of surviving gun violence victims," she shouted on the megaphone.

She knows firsthand the agony of losing a child. She lost her son, 29-year-old Purnell Taylor, in 2004, after he was shot five times and killed on 31st and Morton in Norfolk. On June 24 of this year, she lost her godson, Derrick Roundtree, in Virginia Beach - another victim of gun violence.

"The day I lost my son was the last day I lived, until recently," Taylor said. "I first spiraled and started using drugs."

It was not until recently that she decided to get up and make plans to help other mothers and families deal with the aftermath of burying a child.

Janis partnered with local podcast producer Linda White and is now taking to the airwaves, hoping to reach these grieving families and offer hope, solutions and support.

"This recent epidemic is ridiculous. You're causing mothers, fathers, families to lose people. You aren't just taking someone's life; you are taking life out of other people," she said.

White and Taylor just recorded their first podcast, called "Surviving Gun Violence: The Impact, The Agony, The Aftermath."

"We really want the violence on the streets to stop, and we talk very frankly about what she experienced and interview others," White, the producer, said.

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They're working together to be part of a solution, offer hope and use firsthand experiences with others to plead with them to put the guns down.

"We hope people will join us in our fight to heal communities," White said.