Back in 1996, the main type of gun violence often shown on the news had to do with gangs. Even back then, mothers, fathers and siblings were fighting in their own neighborhoods for it to stop. My brother, Joey, was someone who was caught in the the crossfire because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was only 14 years old, one month away from turning 15.
Every Cinco de Mayo, my family mourns instead of partying. Every Mother’s Day, I am aware of how much pain the day causes for my mom. We buried my brother the day before. Every Father’s Day, I am aware of the same pain my dad is feeling, as the day falls one week after my brother’s birthday. He was their only son. He made us all laugh until we cried. At the age of 14, he was easily 6 feet tall, on his way to playing Major League Baseball. He loved the game so much, and my parents had us both playing from the time we could walk. Twenty-three years later, he is still missed. There are so many little things that remind me of him, especially during baseball season. He is why I will Wear Orange on June 7. To honor him and to celebrate his birthday on June 9.