Pictured with Spike Lee Ms. Rae's daughter's photo was featured in the movie "Chiraq". Spike Lee wrote and produced this film to bring awareness to the violence among our youth.
Ms. Raydell Lacey
Founder of Not Before My Parents
Erick Lacey, Jr., aka E.J., was a really good kid, a well known Basketball player at DeLaSalle Institute and then Phillips High School, with an awesome smile and the most charming smooth operator personality. E.J. was also a jokester/prankster, he would have you laughing so hard and would prank you if you weren't careful. E.J. was a giver and was always willing to help anyone. He had a bright future, while working for UPS. E.J. always found time to visit his family. He would call and stop by to visit his nanna and he also found time to visit with his siblings whom he loved very much.
EJ would assist with promotion of Not Before My Parents (NBMP) by selling NBMP T-shirts & hats and by spreading the word to his friends, schoolmates, teachers and people on the streets about, how "No Parent Should Have To Bury Their Child" and what the organization has to offer. Although Erick's passion was for Basketball he was also preparing to move to California with his uncle because he also had an interest in joining the Navy.
In December of 1994, my 21 year old daughter Elonda D. Lacey, who was a kind, sweet and wonderful daughter with a social butterfly personality just like her mom. All her siblings would always say that she was my favorite child. I would always tell them in return that she wasn't my favorite child, that she just required the most attention because she was my cute little problem child. Lol Elonda aka as Ms Buckey could Act, Dance and Sing, she was also a great mother to her 2 children. Her passion was to attend Performing Arts School. Before she was able to do so Elonda was brutally murdered in front of her 2 year old daughter and 3 year old son, leaving them motherless and broken inside. I became numb, unresponsive and barely able to cope with life. Although I didn't want to take my own life, I just wanted to lay down and go to sleep and not wake up. As time went on I was convinced by my doctor, family members and friends to get some professional help because I was an emotional wreck and suffering from a broken heart. I knew I needed to survive because I had two small children of my own as well as my daughters two children, I just didn't know how. After years of therapy, grief support groups, the support of my family and friends, and many hardcore talks with God, I began to get better.
January of 2016, 21 years & 10 days later, put me emotionally right back in that place with the same tears and same exact pain. My 19 year old grandson Erick L. Lacey Jr. was shot and killed, while riding in the car with some friends on their way to a convenience store.
The organization Not Before My Parents (NBMP) started in 2012. After years of therapy, connecting with Grief Support Groups and hardcore talks with God, I begin reaching out to families of victims who were also affected by violence. Through conversations the reigning theme was that "no parent should have to bury their child". That's where the organization's name comes from, Not Before My Parents. I offered my support to parents, as a mother who understands first- hand the traumatic experience of losing a child. I attended over 20 funerals, shared my coping skills and told my story whererever I went. I also encouraged parents to attend Grief Support Groups, a great support system for parents who are just like you and know that this is a parent's worse nightmare, but can help them get through the lost.
After watching the news reports about some of the senseless murders in my community, I decided I had to do more then just attend funerals, I could no longer sit idly by.
Recent events in Chicago put me in the mind of what a war zone must feel like. Witnessing these tragedies bring out feelings of fear, mistrust, frustration, anger, disappointment and shock. To live in this type of environment is unbelievably disconcerting as an adult. I can only imagine what feelings this evokes in a child.
When a child has to worry about violence when undertaking simple, ordinary things like walking to school, catching a bus, or merely going to the candy store, it is stealing the innocence of their childhood.