Mother turning her grief into mission to help other families

Hope Dudley started U Can Speak For Me after her son was killed in 2007.
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 2:29 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A mother is turning her grief into a mission to help other families who lost loved ones to violence.

Hope Dudley started U Can Speak For Me after her son was killed in 2007.

Even after the news headlines move on to the next breaking story, Dudley remains committed to helping families search for answers to their loved ones’ deaths.

It is a pain she knows all too well.

“In 2007, my son was murdered,” Dudley recalls. “He was a passenger in a car in a drive-by shooting.”

When she went to police a week later to learn what happened to her son Daniel, she says she felt even more disturbed by their response and a flyer that says she was given.

“It has a sketch drawing on it, and I’m like, this is not who my son is,” Dudley explains. “So, I went, and I had some reward cards printed up, and my two older children would go out at night and put them on cars.”

After making homicide reward cards for her son, other families came to Dudley asking her to make cards for their loved ones.

That is how her nonprofit started.

Three years later, the program was picked up and funded by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

“As a state, we need to combat this crime, and we can do it together without holding information back,” says Dudley.

Along with posters of the cold cases that are circulated across the Tri-State, Dudley also makes a deck of playing cards with the victim’s faces, which has been sent to several prisons in the state.

The hope is that someone will see the face or name on the playing card and may help police get a step closer to solving the crime.

Dudley says while she’s proud to see the efforts of the nonprofit working, the most joy comes from knowing that she is helping other families.

Living true to her name, she provides hope and light during their darkest times.

“The legacy that I want to leave is not to come back with a flyer without a name on it,” Dudley explains. “I know my son’s case is going to get solved, but if God forbids it and it doesn’t happen in my lifetime, I gave it my best shot. I gave it my all.”

Dudley’s work has also gotten attention in neighboring states as well.

She recently got a call from a warden in Pennsylvania who wants to put the playing cards in their prisons.

Dudley is working with the warden to make that happen.

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