A picture is worth 1000 tears: An artist's effort to end gun violence

- Nikki McComb is overwhelmed as she read the names on her t-shirt aloud: Birdell Beeks, Crystal Collins, Anthony Titus, Le'Vonte King Jones. The names are printed on a graphic she created of a red “x” crossing out a gun its background.

“Each one is a life that was taken by a gun,” McComb explains. “Unbelievable list, it's on and on and on.”

The graphic is just one piece of McComb’s campaign “Enough” geared towards ending gun violence.

“It's a daily worry,” she admits.

On May 26, McComb was on her way home from work as the Community Engagement Coordinator at Oak Park Center in North Minneapolis when she came upon the scene at Penn and 21st Ave N. where 58-year-old grandmother Birdell Beeks was shot and killed.

“I drove right onto [the scene],” she recalls.

“I could barely function for several days because it hits here and you have to still get up and go that spot every day. I drive down Penn every single day,” said McComb of how the tragedy haunts her.

Troubled by the gun violence at times too frequent to keep up with McComb’s  “Enough” campaign delivers a poignant message through art and a series of photos she took and shared on Facebook.

“To the shooters because they need to see the message, too. The pain, the grief, and the [power] of what an image can do,” said McComb with conviction.

“Also to send another message ‘This is enough! Now, what do you need to stop?’ that ‘What can we do as a community to provide you with what you need to stop?’  Because we need to cease fire, for real,” exclaimed McComb.

“Enough” also gave Sa’Lesha Beeks another platform to remind whoever shot and killed Birdell Beeks murdered her mother. 

“I’m still feeling the fact that no one has been arrested for it, has been hard, it's difficult,” Beeks nodded as she sat next to McComb Wednesday afternoon.

“It takes courage for her to have stood there with that sign,” McComb said of Sa’Lesha Beeks. “If she can do that, someone can call. Someone knows something.”

Hard pressed to support McComb’s campaign is Zach King.

“Enough is enough, we're tired of the gun violence,” King told FOX 9 after pressing McComb’s graphic on a plain white tee.

King issued the shirts to McComb at no cost for the campaign’s photo shoot. He also makes the t-shirts available for purchase at www.shirtswithamessage.net.

By way of his business, "Southside Customs Express," King supports the campaign and the grieving.

“A lot of people come here to get memorial shirts too of the actual victims [of gun violence] so it's just a way for me to be able to counsel with people,” King shared.

Through his work he hopes to put an end to the very problem Beeks and McComb hope to as well.

“We need to take control of the violence,” Beeks insisted.

“I still have to get up and go to work. I still have to go down Penn three four times a day. I have clients all through that area. It could've been me! It could've been anyone!” McComb reminds us.

McComb welcomes other families of victims to join her in continuing her campaign. She hopes to create a PSA for “Enough” and currently seeks a videographer to support her in this effort.

If you’d like to support McComb’s “Enough” campaign you can reach her at pophoto16@gmail.com or here:

https://www.facebook.com/enoughMPLS/notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite¬if_id=1469063874741967

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