Deborah Anthony-Morgan's son was murdered on Mother's Day.

Deborah Anthony-Morgan's son was murdered on Mother's Day.

On May 13, 2007, 18-year-old Anthony Jamal Morgan was shot several times in the parking lot of the Rosewind Terrace public-housing complex in South Linden. He died a few hours later at Ohio State University Medical Center.

Anthony Morgan would have graduated from Beechcroft High School four weeks later.

"He had visions for his life," Deborah Anthony-Morgan said last week. "He set goals for his life, and he went towards them."

As a result of her son's death, Anthony-Morgan set some goals of her own, and has been moving toward them. She established a scholarship in Jamal Morgan's name which has so far been presented to three Beechcroft High students. Anthony-Morgan also, with the help of the Rev. Jenova McLellan, a mentor to her oldest son as well as to the one who was slain, established a sort of hybrid ministry-support group for other parents, mothers mainly, who have suffered the same tragic loss.

It's called Respect My Life, and meets at the Victorious Life Christian Church on Tamarack Circle North.

"God had just given me in my son's death insight into getting parents together," Anthony-Morgan said. "For me it was the healing aspect."

The Rev. Howard L. Williams, pastor at Victorious Life, didn't hesitate to open the church's doors to Respect My Life.

"That's what this place is up here for," Williams said. "I've never lost a family member or a child like that and I can't imagine the kind and level of grief they endure. You want to help them get through this the best they can."

"There are so many women, and men, who are suffering silently," he added.

"God led me to different families," Anthony-Morgan said.

Respect My Life began meeting at the Northland-area church in April. Sessions are held on either Monday or Tuesday evenings, to accommodate members who have to work those nights, Anthony-Morgan said. The group has about 10 mothers and one father.

In many of the cases, including her own, Anthony-Morgan said that so far no one has been convicted of the murders.

"We all feel the same regarding the perpetrators, the people who murdered our sons," Anthony-Morgan said. "God talked about forgiveness, and that's how we can move on.

"Hurt people hurt people. And the people who murdered our sons, we feel, are hurt people."

Kevin Miles, president of Central Ohio Crime Stoppers, was invited to be a guest speaker at a meeting of Respect My Life a few weeks ago. It was, he said, a very moving experience.

"I've known most of those women over the last couple of years individually," he said. "There are some wonderful, wonderful women in that group.

"They all brought pictures," Miles added. "It was just absolutely devastating."

"Every one of us seemed like we were on the same page as far as reaching into the community," Anthony-Morgan said. "We lost our sons, but other people have sons and daughters who are hurting. We just wanted to reach out to kids and let them know they were somebody, because we feel like a lot of kids have no hope and that's why they make the choices that they make."

"The women don't want anybody else to feel what they're feeling," Miles said.

"We all recognize God, and that's the main thing with me," Anthony-Morgan said. "All of these women have a relationship with him, and because we have a relationship with him, God encourages us."