This year for Black History Month, Fierce is celebrating women who are making history every day by serving their communities or working in other ways bring about positive change in the world. We will feature a history maker each week this month.
Millie Brown: Helping Mothers Heal from Heartbreak
One of the most startling things about Millie Brown is that when you ask her about her role at The Johns Hopkins Hospital Surgery Department in 2007, when she founded her nonprofit, she says, “I was a little person.” Her humility, all these years later, is still there, but the impact of her work has been anything but small.
After one day becoming paralyzed by the pain she witnessed when a nurse had to tell a mother she had just lost her son to 20 bullet wounds, Brown says “she knew what God wanted her to do.” She continued her work as a surgical associate at Hopkins — the person who prepares operating rooms for surgical teams — but she also decided to help that mother, and many others like her, so she started A Mother’s Cry (renamed Tears of Mother’s Cry when she retired from Hopkins in 2017).
As gun violence has become an epidemic in Maryland (Brown’s home) and all over the country, the need for Brown’s work has only increased.
Tears of a Mother’s Cry provides moral and social support at a time a crisis to mothers, and other family members, who have lost someone to gun violence. Through special events often held during the most difficult times for families, such as holidays; events that allow violence survivors to hear from experts in grief and recovery, and sharing other resources, Brown’s group makes sure these mothers know that someone is there for them and understands their struggle. The organization has also helped with funeral services and identifying support groups to help people deal with grief.
“Our mission is to reach out to these families and show them that there are far more people who care deeply about their loss and let them know they are not alone, they are not forgotten, and we care,” Brown says. We celebrate her commitment and compassion.