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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Shakela Sparrow Poinsett

In memory of Aaliyah Samantha Hayes

Gun violence has been a tragedy here lately. My name is Shakela Sparrow Poinsett, and I would like to share a gun violence story that has shaken me for the rest of my life. One early Monday morning, around about 3:00 to 3:30 a.m., I got a horrible knock at the door of my grandmother’s household to get the news that a friend since middle school of mine was shot straight in the head inside a project staircase and left to die.

I will never forget that morning, being woken out of my sleep to check on social media to see if what was said was really true. I get on Facebook and the word is spreading faster on Facebook. At that moment in time, all I can think was, who would do such a thing and why. Before I knew it, her beloved mother, Samantha Hayes, was at the door. She was so broken that I still was in literal shock. All I could do was be awake for the rest of the morning. I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t swallow.

It hurt the most because Aaliyah was the most outspoken person that I knew, besides myself. She was always Jazzy with her style and had a great sense of fashion. She would always come up to my house just to check on my grandmother to make sure she was still well. She would come by whenever I cooked food to pick up her plate. She would always tell me about keeping my hair nice and making sure that I always looked out for my grandmother. I don’t understand how a male could shoot a female in the head and not have any remorse about what he has done. Yes they caught who shot her, but now the burden is something that all her loved ones and friends hold among their hearts every single day. When you wake up and realize how cruel gun violence is and to know that someone you knew a majority of you’re life is 100 percent gone and you can no longer see them roam this earth and spread their joy and their presence. Till this day I am so sadly upset that she is gone and no longer knocking on my door with her mom, brother and sisters to come say hi. Her mother still speaks to my grandmother when she can, but it’ll never be the same when all of them was together.

I wish that something like this no longer happens to LIVES !!!! LIVES being taken away from them young or old is not right. It should always be the other way around. This was one tragedy that WILL always hit home to me. I wish the Lord would bring her back. Sharing this experience should awaken others and let others that have been a part of gun violence know that they are NEVER alone.

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