Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership

Major Professor

Vonzell Agosto, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Howard Johnston, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donna Elam, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Lauren Braunstein, Ph.D.


Alternative School Policing, Black Grief, Counter Narrative, Critical Race Theory, Innovative Grief Support, Transformational Writing


Black mothers are disproportionately affected by fatal shootings and the need for making meaning and finding purpose remains overlooked as a vital component of building resilience in their grief journey. The purpose of this study was to (a) reflect on being a Black mother of a fatal shooting victim; (b) understand the grief and healing process that follows; (c) connect my experiences to those within the larger Black grief community, and (d) by example, help other grieving mothers navigate through their grief struggles. I used two research questions: 1) How can I learn about my grief process by using personal narrative and storytelling to explore, write about, and analyze my experience? 2) How can I use my experiences to inform knowledge, be of service to and to support other grieving Black mothers of fatal shooting victims? I documented experiences of my grief journey through the narrative writing of this autoethnographic research reflection using journaling, poetry, drawings, pictures, and other artifacts to provoke further analysis of lived experiences. Using critical race theory as the theoretical framework for this research with counter narrative, I discuss intersectional counter-narratives of 1) power, 2) privilege, and 3) oppression and the role race plays in complicating the parenting and grief process for Black mothers. This study adds to the limited literature about Black grief, healing, and parenting for Black mothers, identifies innovations, and contributes to the existing body of knowledge available to assist grieving Black mothers of fatal shooting victims in navigating their grief journey.