Since we have been holding our Community Coffee Mornings at Moss-side Millennium Powerhouse we have had the chance to talk to influential and courageous people who are using their voice to make a change in the area. We feel these stories and their important work should be showcased. Coincidentally, we were put in contact with one of the founders of Mothers Against Violence (MAV), Patsy Mckie.
MAV was born during the time when gun violence in Manchester was at its worst. This month marks 20 years since Patsy and MAV began speaking up against violence, campaigning for positive change in our community, providing mentoring support, counselling and raising awareness of gun and knife crime.
We sat down with the positive, strong-willed and inspirational woman, Mrs Patsy Mckie to hear her story.
DORRIE AND HIS SMILE
PATSY: MAV was founded the same year my son Dorrie died. That’s how I remember it. Dorrie was killed on August 3rd 1999, 20 years ago this year. Every time I talk about him, I gaze up at his picture, at his beautiful smile. Everyone always commented on his smile.
After he died, I found out so much about my son from his friends. Everyone seemed to love him for the person he was, how loving and kind he was.
I was at the cashpoint one day and there was a homeless man sat on the floor and he looked up at me and said “Hello Mrs Mckie, I know your Dorrie, you know. I went to school with him and he was the most amazing person, you know. All the girls loved him.”
I often think a young man has gone out of this world who touched the lives of so many people and I believe he was born for that, I believe that with all my heart. I loved that he left that mark on people. I don’t think I could love him any more than I did.
WHY DID YOU START MAV?
It wasn’t solely me that started the MAV movement, but I have made sure to continue it. You see, about a week after my son died, one of his friends knocked on the door and said “Hello Mrs Mckie, I have come to let you know that a group of mothers who have lost their children to violence are meeting in the Nello James Centre to discuss the issues in the community”… and then what he said next really got me – “and I think you should be there”.
I couldn’t understand why this young boy felt like I should be there. Why did he ask me? Why was this boy telling me? It hadn’t all settled in yet, my son lay in the morgue and I was now a mother who had lost their son. I went to bed that night and I couldn’t sleep. Dorrie had only been dead a week. I lay awake thinking, why does he think I should be there? What told him to knock on the door and tell me? I wouldn’t have known about it if he hadn’t gone out of his way to tell me.
Afterwards, it was on my mind a lot, so I decided to go. I went by myself but when I arrived I saw a few people that I knew from the community and from the church. A friend who I knew from the community was there and she’d built a reputation as being a strong speaker in the area, one who never shied away from voicing her opinions. Another friend was there and when I asked what she was doing there, she said ‘you told me about it and I came to support you’, which was so nice.
We met week after week and that’s how it formed. Our meetings moved around to other venues and eventually it was only me and my friend Angela who was left. Everyone was calling on me because I was speaking out about losing my child and no-one was doing that at the time. Angela supported me through all of this, she was so strong, she was so wonderful and still is. We would be invited to speak everywhere, we would go to places like London on the train and she would carry me and support me, hold me up and I thank God for that because if she hadn’t MAV wouldn’t be what it is today.
After a few years we recruited other people who wanted to help – we were vocal we spoke up we talked we said what we had to say and I wasn’t afraid to say what I thought. I will tell you the truth, my son’s death brought me to a point where I wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything. I was willing to say whatever I had to say and I was going to stop. I was forging my way forward and I would like to encourage young people to do that. You can get gain out of pain. I got gain out of pain and if I can do it its possible for everyone else to do it. Using your pain to catapult you into the next place you want to go. Holding onto it and grabbing on to it because it’s good in a way it stirs your emotions and everything about you but its good.
Angela left MAV to go on to do other things, which broke my heart. I didn’t think I could carry on MAV without her, but again by the grace of God, others stepped in and helped to keep it going forward. They steadied me and held me to do what I believe I was born to do. In the bible, it says ‘going from glory to glory’. We are never going backwards, we are always going forward.
So that’s how MAV came about really.
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER PEOPLE WHO FEEL THEY WANT TO SPEAK UP OR MAKE CHANGE?
Do it. If you believe that within yourself there is something you must do. Once you feel that inkling that you must do something… it’s out of that you find your purpose. I believe I’m in my purpose now. Whether or not it’s painful don’t let pain stop you from doing what you have to do… you can overcome any pain. All of us are unique individuals and no one is the same as us. You were born with a purpose so that purpose must be fulfilled somewhere along the line. That’s Gods plan. Do not give up.
WHERE ARE MAV NOW
The Pride of Manchester Awards came to Manchester on 8th May 2019 and MAV is very pleased to hear that Patsy Mckie will be one of the first people to receive this honour!
Have a look at the Mothers Against Violence website for more information and to see the various powerful projects MAV are currently working on, including: