Deanna McKinney’s been through one of the hardest things a parent can endure. Her teenage son was gunned down on her front porch by a kid looking to join a gang. Now she’s making meaning out of the tragedy by working to ensure a better community for the daughter her son left behind.
Everyone knows the song. People who don’t consider themselves spiritual or religious find it meaningful. John Newton penned the hymn to connect with Christians, but it has transcended that and become a folk song and an anthem for civil rights. The origins of the song are complicated -- Newton was a slave trader who did not renounce slavery until long after he wrote it.