(NewsNation) — All three of Asiyah Timimi’s sons have fallen victim to gun violence. She wants to make sure the same tragedy doesn’t afflict other families.
Timimi, whose sons survived the shootings that left one of the men paralyzed from the waist down, is one of several community members in Washington, D.C., putting their ideas into action. Through a city-provided grant, she’s created a life skills class that focuses on education and literacy skills.
The idea came to Timimi when she was working as a corrections officer and she had a conversation with a man who was leaving prison. He told her was illiterate, which would make his life outside difficult.
“I got off work that day … and gave him some information on literacy programs. I saw him two years later, and he said, ‘I looked everywhere for you, I want to thank you,'” Timimi said.
A firearms instructor and certified bounty hunter, Timimi wants to make it clear that she isn’t against guns altogether.
“You have a lot of military weapons on the street that should not be. You have a lot of guns in the hands of juveniles that definitely shouldn’t be,” Timimi said. People having legal firearms “is a Second Amendment right. I’ve seen too many innocent people murdered and slaughtered in D.C., and for what? I think you should be able to protect yourself.”
As was the case for one of her sons, Timimi says families in D.C. — which she notes is “small city” of 68 square miles — can be caught in the crossfire when they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
She still hasn’t been able to make sense of the tragedy that has befallen her family.
“My relationship with God has gotten me through, as well as support from friends and family,” Timimi said. “It’s something I wouldn’t wish on anybody. The call you get that your child has been shot, it’s like everything is in slow motion.”
The grants to fund initiatives such as Timimi’s are given out by the city’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention in partnership with the Progressive Life Center. The most recent round doled out $5,000 each to 20 recipients, a $100,000 investment.
Other programs being spearheaded by residents include yoga and mindfulness classes, entrepreneurship and even a trip to Wall Street.
“We know that building a safer, stronger, and more peaceful DC requires the entire community working together,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a June news release announcing the grants. “I wake up every morning thinking about the safety of our community, and we have residents across all eight wards who do the same. These grants support members of the community who are putting their passion for a safer DC into action and developing programs that will change and save lives.”