I was 26 and working in youth development. Underfunded and undertrained. I had a student come to me and say, “Hey, something is up. I was jumped at school today.” We decided he was safe, after asking very directly if he felt safe at school. Safe at home. Safe in the community. He said he felt safe. He walked out the door, and 15 minutes later, he was shot. I was filled with grief, fear and relentless anger.
I went to work, worried about retaliation. We were all so afraid. I always knew where the exit sign was. I wanted to be strong for the kids. I kept them away from the windows. I thought about who I would have to jump in front of, when/if it happened. Another shooting. Protect the kids. Protect the kids. Soon enough, my body imploded from the fear: I herniated a disk in my back.
From this event, I developed PTSD and experienced homelessness. I lost my company. I lost my community. For a period of time, I lost my family.
More recently, things are turning around. I moved to a new city. A fresh start. Now at 32, I’m finally on the mend.