This week is National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Nearly 40 percent of homicides committed in 2019 were unsolved. Read and share stories.

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Anonymous

In memory of my friend

If somebody could embody “dynamic,” that’s who he was. Always smiling and laughing. He was a few years older—the same age as my brother—so our families were close. Like a best friend, a cousin, another brother. Both he and my brother came out as gay in middle school. In a small southern town, that wasn’t easy. But I never could have expected that February morning, when my mother picked me up from class and told me he had killed himself using a firearm. I was overcome by fear, sadness and one unfamiliar feeling.

A few weeks later, my brother made his own attempt on his life, and I pinpointed the feeling: It was anger. I was furious that they had tried to leave us behind; I was furious at both of their schools for not protecting them; I was furious that someone had sold a gun to an 18-year-old. I couldn’t blame them, though; it was perfectly legal.

This anger fueled my activism. Today I am fueled by my love for the other people working for good and by my desire to help other kids survive and find happiness like my brother has. I hope this fuels you, too.

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