'You Are Not Alone' – Mother's Day ceremony focuses on those who lost children to gun violence

Dawn Spearman founded YANA (You Are Not Alone) in 2011 and tells News 12 she had no idea how comforting it would be to help moms dealing with grief.

Frank Recchia and Rose Shannon

May 13, 2023, 4:37 PM

Updated 346 days ago

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A vigil was held at Riverfront Park for mothers who have lost their children to gun violence.
Dawn Spearman founded YANA (You Are Not Alone) in 2011 and tells News 12 she had no idea how comforting it would be to help moms dealing with grief.
Spearman started the organization after her first husband died from a violent crime in 1994.
"It was the most devastating thing that ever happened to me," she said. "It was even more devastating that I did not have the support of others."
Spearman says she wanted to make sure mothers would not go through what she endured.
"There were times when I didn't even know if I would be able to pull through," she said. "Doing this by myself, the grief process was tremendous."
Spearman says YANA and the Mother’s Day ceremony helps provide others with the support she struggled to find back in 1994.
"What I do here on Mother's Day is to let the mothers know that you have not been forgotten and your loved one has not been forgotten,” she said.
Rebecca Asbury, who lost her son in 2022, is one of many mothers grateful for Spearman’s help.
"Dawn in my life is like my support,” she said. “I'm very, very thankful."
Riverfront Park is now home to a brick mosaic memorializing victims like 22-year-old Thomas Asbury, 22-year-old Kenneth Porter, 29-year-old Ronald Miley, 38-year-old Joseph Meyers and hundreds more.


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