Karen Drew: Even after tragic losses, Mama Shu’s mission to help continues

Karen Drew and Mama Shu. (WDIV)

It was a strange moment in time. A moment where I just didn’t know what to say. so I figured a big, long hug would probably be the best way to communicate.

What else can you do when you are about to sit down and talk to a mother how had just lost her second child?

Many of you know Shamayim Harris from Highland Park (aka Mama Shu). She has done so much to revitalize her neighborhood. Her contributions include buying up vacant homes and turning them into gathering places for her neighbors, raising funds to build a basketball court, provide space for kids to do their homework, and most recently installing solar lights on her street as there were NO city lights.

Read more: Highland Park’s Mama Shu fights for justice after son murdered while protecting neighborhood

She tells me when her second son was murdered there were no working lights on Avalon Street where she lived and where her son was killed. In 2011, the city could not afford its electric bill, so the energy company turned off the streets lights and took them away.

Her latest mission is to make the streets safer, so she is raising money for these lights (they cost about 13-grand each) and installing them one by one. There is also free Wi-Fi with those lights, so folks are able to access the internet, as many don’t have that access in their own homes.

Her mission started after her son Chinyelu was murdered - his killer has still not been found.

While she waits for police to track down the murderer, she tells me what SHE can do is make her neighborhood safer so no other mother loses her child. Her plan to continue to raise more money for more lights.

We will be following Mama Shu’s mission as we have for years -- she continues to beat the odds and never gives up.

Click here to learn more about or make a donation to The Avalon Village.

About the Author:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.