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."
Victor Vela II has been a graphic artist with over 15 years of experience. Art has always been a huge part of his life and since he was a child he always loved anything related to art, so he started to design at a very young age, most of his skills and knowledge are self taught. Victor has worked with a gamut of NFL players (former and current) as well as MLB players such as, former Chicago Cub pitcher Kerry Wood. Working with non-profit organizations has been Victor's main objective. In 2014, Victor was asked to create the logo for the 25th Anniversary of the movie site Field of Dreams.