“Human beings are the only ones killing their own kind,” - Roald Dahl
Jamel Parks, 9.
Maisah Larkin, 39.
Darnell Thomas, 19.
Zykee Carmichael, 19.
Rasheem Brown, 20.
Steven Turner, 62.
David Smith, 55.
Ali Thorpe, 15.
Yadnel Nieves, 17.
Tahjae Brooks, 21.
Corey Hayes-Williams, 19.
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Shahaad Brown, 17.
Kadeem Green, 17.
Tahmir Jones, 19.
Trayvon Martin, 17.
Kristian Marche, 18.
13 of the 16 of those names died under the age of 21. And those are only just a few of the countless people who died at the hands of gun violence. They had their whole lives ahead of them and weren’t able to live it. Tahmir Jones was and will always be my best friend. Instead of having him stand next to me, I have to wear him on a shirt.
Kadeem Green, who I’ve known since kindergarten, would have been graduating with me this year.
Being shot and living. Being shot and left for dead while families cannot do anything besides grieve and attempt to get justice. Witnessing someone getting shot.
All is depressing and wrong. As humans, we deserve more. Taron Small said, “I’m a human being too,” after being convicted of the first-degree murder of Kristian Marche, but he did not see Marche as another human being, did he? Did anyone see Ali Thorpe, Zykee Carmichael, Shahaad Brown, Yadnel Nieves, or anyone else as human being before taking their lives?
I ask myself every day what was going on in those murderers' heads when they killed these young men.
If they are crazy, if they have no support system, or if it is simply for fun. Whatever the reason, you took someone's son, brother, cousin, uncle, best friend, etc. And whatever your reason is, it does not justify what you did.
If we all want to make it home at the end of the day, why not help each other rather than hurt one another? Not only is it unfair to those who have lost their lives, but also for their families. Not too many years ago, white people were beyond brutal towards us Black Americans.
Why are we now being brutal to each other? The people who are supposed to support us, are not.
They are on the corners of our blocks selling drugs and causing trouble and then we get caught in the crossfire. When we are not home, we have no safe place to go to, leading to fights and gunfire. And now someone’s child has to be buried.
On April 15, 2023 there was a youth-led event called “Philly Youth Voices” where the youth got the chance to voice their opinions and concerns within the Philadelphia community while the adults (elected officials and running candidates) had to hear us out without saying anything unless it was a question. A bunch of us had many opinions about this event after it took place.
“The event was helpful. We got to learn a lot of different stuff with different schools that were either unfair and unjust or socially disturbed.” Philly Bolt Youth Leader, ShaMar Davis stated while reflecting on the topic of public education.
I on the other hand, I think certain elected officials and running came just to make themselves look impressive. How are we supposed to come to you with our issues if all you are going to do is disrespect us and not acknowledge us? We spent weeks preparing for this event and we were more than excited to see this take place so for these adults to come and do this to us was very disturbing.
As adults and leaders, they have to do better. We wanted them to hear us and to change things for us but people were on their phones and had side conversations and were not listening to a word we had to say. How can we vote for these people if they do nothing to gain our vote? We all need to do better.
Get these guns off of our streets, put people in office who genuinely care about us and our communities. We all need help but we cannot do it alone.
When will this catastrophe end?
“Every day I pray that the streets of Philadelphia become a much safer place. There are too many people including innocent babies and children who are either getting injured or losing their lives due to this senseless violence,” said Keniyah Adams, a Philadelphia citizen who has been impacted. Keniyah lost her boyfriend in 2020 due to gun violence just 20 feet away from their home, which became the worst pain of her life.
“Time does not heal all wounds, and there is no heartbreak greater than longing for someone you know is never coming back.”
No one understands the pain that we are going through unless YOU are going through it. The
Everyday war against gun violence needs to stop, and Philadelphia citizens and communities need to be saved.