October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Evangeline Semark

In memory of Yakez Semark

“We can box it up, but don’t shoot me down.” My son Yakez stated these words in a song he recorded at age 17. He was murdered at age 20, shot on February 8 and died shortly after 12 a.m. on February 9. We didn’t find out until hours later, when the police knocked on the door. I never had a chance to say goodbye. I never got to hold his hand or kiss him on the cheek or tell him that I love him. When my partner Justin and I arrived at the ER, we weren’t allowed to touch him: His body was now evidence in a murder case. Imagine. My baby was gone, and I could not touch him. Gone, but never forgotten. Now we spend our time promoting the #StayGold movement in Yakez’s name, so that everyone can be inspired to shine as bright as my son did.

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