ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WTVF) — The mother of a Waffle House shooting victim is asking the community to support her family's nonprofit in honor of her son.
Shaundelle Brooks' son, Akilah Dasilva, died on April 22, 2018 during the Antioch shooting, along with three others, DeEbony Groves, Taurean Sanderlin, Joe Perez.
Since the tragedy, she and her family have attended local and national events speaking about how gun violence has impacted their lives.
They started the Akilah Dasilva Foundation in part to create a culture of engaged youth and adults committed to identifying, intervening, and getting help for individuals who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others. Brooks said money raised will go to support students at Cane Ridge High School. That's where Dasilva and her daughter graduated.
"We reach out to students that have experienced or were impacted by gun violence personally and want to escape the cycle of violence. Going to college, do something different. Akilah had mentioned to me a long time ago about some of the students not getting what they needed in situations like this so I remember that," she said.
She said her son rapped about putting an end to gun violence. She quoted a lyric from one of his songs.
"'Forget about making a hashtag and let's throw all the guns in the trash bag,' I can't divert from that. I can't go around it. It is what it is and that's our bigger mission to put an end to gun violence. It has affected us tremendously like this is the worst experience, the darkest time. 4-22-18 is our darkest morning ever," she said.
The Akilah Dasilva Foundation recently became 501(c) nonprofit. Brooks said she spends every day writing e-mails, handling social media accounts, or driving around Nashville asking people to donate to her cause.
"We have a lot of people that support us but here we are asking for money. It doesn't come naturally for me that's not something that I do. I don't ask for anything. It's not in my DNA," Brooks said.
The family will host a fundraiser brunch at Horton's Events located at 660 Lafayette Street on November 16, which would have been Dasilva’s 25th birthday.
There is more information about the brunch and way to donate at www.natrixdream.life.