As a survivor of gun violence, I often think about the lives of loved ones who have impacted my life. Living in a large city, Chicago, and being Black puts my loved ones more at risk. My brother Melvin was shot and killed by a neighbor who was disgruntled that Melvin had broken up a fight between him and another man in his apartment complex. In retaliation, this neighbor sought out the man he had fought earlier that day and Melvin for breaking up the fight. His revenge was to shoot and kill them both and then shoot himself. Three lives gone so abruptly and unnecessarily. This news changed my life. It took me down a road of despair and anguish to know I would never see, laugh with or touch Melvin ever again.
This past summer, my cousin Angelo Bronson was walking down a street in the Englewood area of Chicago when he was shot and killed by an unknown assailant who is still at large. He left behind three children, a wife, and a host of friends and family.
These murders and others have prompted me to dedicate my life to helping survivors.