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Juwan Small

On December 14, 2015, my son Juwan was killed two blocks from our home, in broad daylight. Juwan’s murder remains unsolved. He was only 17 years old. My life was changed forever.

Before my son died, kids used to call my son when they needed shoes for school, and he would give his shoes away. I would fuss at him for giving away shoes and clothes that I worked hard to give him. He would say, “Mom, it doesn’t matter. It means too much to them.” I didn’t understand then how many children he helped. I started a “Justice for Juwan” to give children in the community shoes; each box of shoes has a picture of Juwan in it. A pair of shoes can change your day; my son understood that. Giving children shoes allows me to continue Juwan’s legacy and allows me to share a piece of Juwan forever.

I am healing because of the action I take in the community. My other two children face the world every day even though they lost their brother. They give me hope, and the other kids in the community give me hope.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.