Lionel Irving is the founder of Love is Stronger, an organization in Portland, OR dedicated to supporting gang-impacted families and communities in building healing, accountability, and safety. While Lionel and Love is Stronger focus on interrupting gun violence, this work is also rooted in grief. Lionel's uncle was shot and killed by the police in 1975. His cousin Donald was killed in 1999 by a rival gang. His mother died of a sudden illness when Lionel was 20. In the last two years, he went to over 40 funerals, many of those for young people killed by gun violence.
We talk about:
- Lionel's early experiences with grief and gun violence
- How he lost his moral compass when his mother died
- His work as a tribute to how his mother saw him
- The role unprocessed grief played in his life, including killing another teen
- How being in prison and learning about trauma changed his life
- Learning there's no quick fix for grief
- What is unique about grieving a gun violence death
- The origin story of Love is Stronger
- Lionel's vision for interrupting cycles of gun violence
- What the community can do to help
- What helps him tend his own grief
More information about Lionel & Love is Stronger.
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Grief Out Loud is supported in part by the Chester Stephan Endowment Fund in loving memory by the estate of Theodore R. Stephan.