Mom Whose Daughter Was Killed by a Stray Bullet Is Fighting for Change: 'Enough Is Enough'

Alexandria Imani Burgos was only 18 when a stray bullet struck her as she was picking up her younger brother from a friend's house. Her mother is now doing all she can to end gun violence as a Moms Demand Action volunteer.

Gun violence photo
Photo: Getty Images/Joe Raedle/Staff

My daughter, Alexandria Imani Burgos, was a miracle baby. I was told that I couldn't have kids, and after 12 long years of trying to conceive, we were so blessed to have her and to welcome her younger brother into our family just a year later. But it only took one moment for her to be taken away from us forever.

On October 19, 2014, Alexandria, who was 18 at the time, went to pick up her brother from a small birthday gathering at a friend's house, just as she had done so many times before. I remember coming out of a movie theater with my husband when our son called us in tears. At first, we didn't understand—we thought they would already be at home. But once we really heard what our son was saying, our hearts dropped. While Alexandria was waiting inside their friend's kitchen, a stray bullet entered the home, striking only Alexandria and killing her instantly.

Alexandria Imani Burgos
Courtesy of Millie Burgos

We never expected something like this to happen to our family. Someone who shouldn't have had a gun shot blindly, without knowing or caring who they were going to hurt, and stole my daughter's life. Alexandria didn't deserve that. Our son was forced to call his parents and let them know that his sister had been shot and killed—a position no brother, no son, no person should ever have to be in. He didn't deserve that. No one deserves to be sentenced to a lifelong journey of grief and trauma due to senseless, preventable gun violence.

What we do deserve is to feel safe going about our lives—whether it's visiting a friend's house, dropping our kids off at school, going to the hospital, or checking out at the grocery store.

I joined Moms Demand Action to channel my pain over Alexandria's death into a fight for a future where no parent has to endure the heartbreak of losing their child to gun violence. While it's not easy, I stand strong with other survivors to honor those who have been taken from us and advocate for real change. I also volunteer with other organizations, and we work in unity to achieve the same goal: ending gun violence. We should not have to live in fear that gunfire can ring out at any moment. Enough is enough.

No one deserves to be sentenced to a lifelong journey of grief and trauma due to senseless, preventable gun violence. 

This Friday, June 3 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day and marks the beginning of Wear Orange Weekend. Wear Orange began with teenagers in Chicago, who wanted to honor their friend, Hadiya Pendleton, after she was shot and killed. It originated on what would have been Hadiya Pendleton's 18th birthday, and it now honors her and the hundreds of people who are impacted by gun violence every day, including the 1,505 people killed and the 4,148 people wounded by guns in an average year in Illinois.

​​Hadiya's life had purpose. The lives of the students in Uvalde, Texas had purpose. The lives of the shoppers in Buffalo, New York had purpose. My daughter Alexandria's life had purpose. We Wear Orange to remember them, the loved ones who are left behind, and to let people know that we will never forget the light and joy they brought into this world.

But we also Wear Orange to demand action. Alexandria wanted to change the world. She had goals to achieve and her dream was to be a social worker to help all children. She looked for the best in everything and everyone, and when something was wrong, she would work to make it OK. We want to honor her legacy.

Millie and Rafael Burgos
Millie and Rafael Burgos. Courtesy of Millie Burgos

In the wake of mass shootings and gun violence that ravages our communities every day, this year, we wear orange to give our lawmakers (especially those in the U.S. Senate) a message: Don't look away from our country's gun violence crisis—it's time for you to do your jobs. Raise your voice this Wear Orange weekend and text BOLD to 64433 to call on Congress to do their jobs and implement meaningful measures that will save lives.

Millie Burgos is a volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action. Millie's daughter, Alexandria, was killed by a stray bullet in 2014.

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