Ten years December 6, 2018 marked the anniversary date of Brandon Lee Brinkley’s passing. He was murdered and losing him to gun violence was, unimaginable-yet this became my gun violence reality. Had it not been for family, close friends, co-workers and church family, I could have been one of those parents who lost everything when I was going through. Losing a child does not compare to losing any other family member as I view it. Wallowing in self-pity was not an option as I then had a ten-year old daughter to raise, she needed me then as she did not fully understand that her big brother was not coming back. Courtney did not fully grieve until four years later…
It was my choice to be optimistic and turn my tragedy into smoothing greater than his death. I sought the help of my immediate family and later The Brandon Lee Brinkley Foundation, Inc., was birthed as Brandon was in school studying to become a professional barber and had start cutting hair for extra cash in our home months before he left us. “What at memory!”
Today, BLBF, Inc., is busy serving Delaware cosmetology and barbering students by rewarding those who apply scholarships for school supplies, cosmetology kit fees or state board license fees. In 2017, we incorporated another program designed to award scholarships to college-bound students as well. Our annual community service work involves our service at The Sunday Breakfast Mission where youth in our family participate as well by setting up tables and decorating. Adult members serve families along other volunteers at dinnertime.
Lastly, I am a survivor and enjoy working with other grassroot organizations seeking to make a difference by supporting and fighting for sensible gun law protection and working with families (some who have lost their loved one to gun violence). Brandon’s story is apart of Christiana Care’s Trauma Unit presentation “YOLO” viewed by youth ages 13-18 teaching them about choices and gun violence. In addition, working with Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action-Hockessin chapter, DAPI Advisory Board (January 2019).