My first experience with gun violence was when I was about 12 to 14 years old. My cousin was shot and killed in Washington, D.C., after trying to leave a gang he had joined and see about having a better life. When he had gotten his life back on track, they shot and killed him anyway for trying to leave. I had to attend his funeral with my family and see my family’s pain, as he was my cousin. They haven’t found his killer even to this day, even though his father is a lawyer. I never wanted to experience that pain ever again, but only more came along the way.
A high school friend I graduated with in 2014 was murdered on his front doorstep during his 21st birthday weekend. No one was caught, and his name vanished from the news of his death.
I have lost multiple people, both loved ones and friends, but I have been advocating for change in this country within this worldwide epidemic known as gun violence.