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"I am her voice now": A mother's fight against gun violence

A mother's fight against gun violence continues nearly two decades after her daughter's life was lost by a drive-by shooting while at a party with friends
Posted at 3:20 AM, May 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-24 06:21:23-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — "The hole that's left in my heart is just unfillable," Deborah Parker said in an interview with KGUN 9 in 2019.

Now, nearly two decades after the night Deborah's daughter, Lindsey Parker, was killed in a drive-by-shooting while at a party with friends the hole remains, but so does her resolve to fight against gun violence.

"Before it affects you, you need to think about your grandkids, your children, your neighbors, the kids you see at church, at the grocery store, because their lives are literally at risk."

Deborah has worked alongside Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement fighting for public safety and protecting against gun violence since the very beginning. The Soul Box Project is a call-to-action effort, visually representing each victim of gun violence.

The Soul Box Project
The Soul Box Project's 'Soul Box Exhibit' displayed in Council Member Steve Kozachik's office

"There are 14 different panels, each panel has 98 boxes, and each box represents somebody who has been killed by gun violence," said city councilmember Steve Kozachik. "98 is approximately the number of people killed every single month in Arizona through gun violence. That's not okay."

A Soul Box

A Soul Box is hand-folded and crafted one by one, illustrating each gun violence victim and the person they were.

The Soul Box Exhibit in Ward 6's office is just one of many efforts Deborah and her daughter use as an outlet for Lindsey's voice.

"It's easy to say that it's never going to happen to you. When it happened to me, I was a nurse working full-time, we were in a gated community, we went to church every Sunday-it happened to us."

The Soul Box Project

Though the hole left in Deborah's heart the night her daughter was taken by a random, senseless act of gun violence may never mend, she makes a choice each day to fight for gun violence awareness so other mothers don't lose their daughter too.

"What we need to do is stand up now and make a difference. We need to elect officials to stand up for our rights to be safe and alive."

A Soul Box

Breanna Isbell is a reporter for KGUN 9. She joined the KGUN 9 team in July of 2022 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in sports journalism from Arizona State University in May. Share your story ideas with Breanna by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.