OAKLAND -- Lorrain Taylor knows heartache. It's been 13 years since her twin sons were shot and killed in East Oakland.

Taylor has made it her life's mission to help other parents -- particularly mothers -- who have suffered the loss of a child. She founded the nonprofit 1,000 Mother's to Prevent Violence to help provide a supportive community for grieving families and friends.

"The more I reach out and help other families heal, I also heal," she said.

On Thursday, 1,000 Mothers will host its sixth annual Purple Gala at Jack London Aquatic Center. Former Giants manager Dusty Baker, 1989 A's World Series MVP Dave Stewart and ABC7 news anchor Cheryl Jennings are the guest speakers.

This year's theme, Bridging the Gap, isn't just a catchy theme. One of the main purposes of Taylor's organization is to improve communication between survivors of homicide victims and the Oakland Police Department.

"If the OPD is having a problem communicating with the families they ask me to go in and act as the mediator," Taylor said.

In August, when Drew Jackson, 16 months old, and his father were shot and killed while the two were sleeping in their bed, Taylor knew just what the family needed.

"I followed that family from day one. We did vigils together, we organized the funeral and all of that," she said.

She also conducts house visits and follows up with families of homicide victims, offering continuous emotional support.


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Taylor recalls a time when OPD called to ask for her help -- another mother had lost her son.

"She is very angry, so she screams and curses a lot but I can deal with it because I told her you have a right to be angry," she said.

Taylor can relate to the woman's pain. But more than that, nowadays, she can help ease the burden.

IF YOU GO
What: 1,000 Mothers to Prevent Violence hosts its sixth annual Purple Gala with the theme of Bridging the Gap
When: 5 p.m., Thursday
Where: Jack London Aquatic Center, 115 Embarcadero, Oakland
Cost: $75, includes dinner; all proceeds benefit the nonprofit
Info: 510-583-0100, email mothers1000@aol.com, www.1000mothers.org