Gun Violence Killed Our Close Friends

Teen Vogue: Gun Violence Will Not Dissipate for the Black Community; Local Communities Must Take Action [DELETE?]

My name is Willie Knight. On September 10, 2018, Khalil A. Logan, one of my closest friends, was fatally shot. That day, he became yet another statistic — another Black teen whose life was taken by a gun. He also became one of the 106 people who are killed by gun violence every day in the United States; one of the 7,957 children and teens who are shot on average every year; and one of the 9,991 Black Americans who die annually because of gun violence.

This is not a new issue in our communities, but it struck me deeply since it was the first time someone close to me had died. As a society, we have normalized these tragedies. The victims of gun violence have become just another headline on the daily news. 

For me, one of the most challenging things to accept about Khalil’s death was the length of his obituary: It was so short — not because he hadn’t accomplished things in his young life, but because he’d been given so little time on this Earth. He was robbed of his life, unable to experience it to the fullest, to see his daughter’s birth and watch her take her first steps, let alone take the world by storm. Now he lives on only through his friends and family.

Four years later, Pittsburgh saw another youth become a name on the wall. On Sunday, April 17, 2022, 17-year-old Matthew Steffy-Ross was one of two young men killed in an Airbnb shooting on the city’s North Side, which made national news. The people closest to him — including Jacquan Brockman and I — haven’t stopped thinking about the tragedy of his murder.

Matt and I had a growing mentor-mentee relationship in the months before his death. When I found out the news of his murder, I stopped in my tracks and just stood there, trying to process what I had read. Only a few days earlier, we had finalized the design I was working on for his clothing line. All of a sudden, a whole future — an impact on the world that we will never see — just disappeared.

The heavy thoughts and emotions consuming me ahead of his viewing and funeral grew stronger as time went on. I kept circling back to the meaning behind 2Pac’s “T.H.U.G L.I.F.E” tattoo, “The hate u gave little infants f—s everyone,” which says that whenever you subject people to the hatred and violence of the world at an early age, you are perpetrating the violence that ultimately affects everyone. This is especially the case for the Black community. The sheer amount of violence that our people and children have experienced in our four centuries on American soil fuels new cycles of violence. This current of violence has adapted with the times, but it has never left us.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Home  Articles  Disclaimer  Contact Us