Not Before My Parents (NBMP) started in 2012. In Founder and CEO, Ms. Raydell Lacey's words: "After years of therapy, connecting with Grief Support Groups and hardcore talks with God, I begin reaching out to families of victims who were also affected by violence. Through conversations the reigning theme was that "no parent should have to bury their child". That's where the organization's name comes from, Not Before My Parents. I offered my support to parents, as a parent who understands first- hand the traumatic experience of losing a child. I attended over 20 funerals, shared my coping skills and told my story wherever I went. I also encouraged parents to attend Grief Support Groups, a great support system for parents who are just like you and know that this is a parent worse nightmare, but can help you get through this. After watching the news reports about some of the senseless murders in my community, I decided I had to do more then just attend funerals, I could no longer sit idly by. Recent events in Chicago put me in the mind of what a war zone must feel like, witnessing these tragedies bring out feelings of fear, mistrust, frustration, anger, disappointment and shock. To live in this type of environment is unbelievably disconcerting as an adult. I can only imagine what feelings this evokes in a child. When a child has to worry about violence when undertaking simple, ordinary things like walking to school, catching a bus, or merely going to the candy store, it is stealing the innocence of their childhood. The idea of the chess tournament came to me to get the community to brainstorm in a strategic manner, as used by chess players, to promote an end to violence. It provides a positive distraction from all the violence that we've seen in the past several years, serving as an activity to promote healthy competition and motivates and introduce this sport to others who may not have otherwise considered it."
Billy O'Keefe splits his professional life between writing code, writing words, drawing pictures, making art and any other hobby he can find a way to turn into a living. He recently wrote and illustrated his first book, "These are My Friends on Politics," which is in bookstores now. He gets easily distracted by hockey, baseball, basketball and every dog he sees, including the one he's looking at right now while writing this.