On February 1, 2008, my brother — Johnny Leroy Dawkins Jr. — turned 25 years old. My mom and I, along with other family and friends, had no way of knowing this would be the last birthday we would celebrate with him here with us physically. On July 26, 2008, my brother’s life was abruptly and tragically taken as a result of gun violence. My brother is survived by his son, Jayden Dawkins, who was only three years old at the time (turning four that October), and a beautiful baby girl, LeeLeean Dawkins, who would be born March of the next year. Losing my brother to gun violence was like losing my right arm. It was just the two of us … I miss him dearly each and every day.
In 2010, my mom and I decided to honor his life, turning our pain into purpose, and founded the Johnny Leroy Dawkins Jr. Scholarship Fund. Since then we’ve awarded over 30 scholarships to African American males and other minorities. It is our mission to join the fight against gun violence and make a huge impact in this effort.