On May 26, 2016, Birdell Beeks became an innocent bystander to gun violence in north Minneapolis, Minnesota. Birdell was my mother. On that spring day, Birdell was driving with her 16-year-old daughter. They were waiting at a stop sign to make a left turn when Birdell’s granddaughter noticed a man on a hill with a gun. The granddaughter screamed to her grandmother, “Duck! He has a gun!” But it was too late. The armed man had already begun discharging his gun at another vehicle passing in the area. He did not care that there were innocent people driving by or that there were innocent people walking down the street. He opened fire, emptying his entire clip! One of his bullets hit Birdell Beeks in the arm. When paramedics arrived, Birdell was holding on. Her granddaughter was distraught, lost and confused as she had just heard what would be the last words she would ever hear her grandmother say: “Baby they got me!” Birdell died while in surgery.
Since that day, Birdell’s daughter, Bunny Beeks, has fought tirelessly as an advocate for other families in Minneapolis who have lost their lives to gun violence.