From Ruth Rollins:

Dear Kim,

I need to take a moment and write to you about how you have left a beautiful imprint on my heart.  Who would have thought that the two of us could become a source of strength for each other, our communities and other homicide survivors?  We both have different lives and stories, but the tragic loss of my Danny at the age of 21 and your Steven at the young age of 13, has brought us on a journey of healing and empowerment together.

We both lost our boys in 2007, and neither of us could make sense of the loss, which left us asking how? and where did the guns come from?  We have started a journey together and I have learned so much from working alongside you.  I’m inspired by your compassion for people, knowledge about how to advocate for policy change, and willingness to never give up on our community.  I know all the LIPSTICK Ladies appreciate that loving spirituality and prayer that you always give us, even on our worst days.

I believe it is God that brought both our minds, spirits, and passion for this work together so WE can be a dynamic team.  We have partnered together in Peace!  I need to take the time to THANK YOU for leading the way, supporting our mission, and standing beside me to heal a community.

Once again I am amazed at your commitment to step up to the forefront, advocate for the community, and speak before politicians, and clergy, and youth.  Congratulations on your most recent Boston Magazine article.

 With Love & Respect,

Ruthy


From Kim Odom:

Dear Ruthy

You’ve heard me share the story of my plans to leave the Boston Public Health Commission after working in Violence Prevention, and how my goal was to take some time for me and then go to school.  Not long after leaving, I was invited to a LIPSTICK workshop at Rosie’s Place where you were presenting. That was January 2012.  I really wasn’t sure I wanted to get on board with LIPSTICK, but it was your enthusiasm about the campaign that drew me.  

You are gifted in drawing people in.  

I’ve learned so much in these past two years, in addition to the importance of asking Where Do the Guns Come from?  You have enlightened me with your experience as a Domestic Violence Counselor.  Our paths have been different, but our hearts are one in the bond that we have through the tragedy of gun violence that took our sons, and has made us determined to honor their lives with our very own. 

As peer survivors and colleagues, we’ve had our uncomfortable moments of growing pains in developing and shaping LIPSTICK.  We have cried, we have laughed, and we have hugged, and I hear you say, “I’m in it to the end!”  Your life experience has been the strength, wisdom and vision to build a Safe House for women coerced into gun trafficking, just as they are in drug trafficking and sex trafficking.  You are a visionary and it will happen.  

I’m honored to be your partner and friend in being the change we seek for our community and beyond.

 Love you Lady,

Kim