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Lil Art Bodega

I had already survived a brain aneurysm, which was a life-changing moment. But years later, after leaving a vendor gig at “First Friday” in Las Vegas, while driving back home, I had a craving for candy corn. I made a left turn that would change my daughter and me forever.

I pulled into a new, well-lit gas station on Vegas Drive in Las Vegas. As I parked and got out of my Jeep, I heard a pop behind me. (I’m a New Yorker from Harlem, so I’m no stranger to gun violence.) As I turned to see where it came from, the second shot hit me in the neck.

It was March 8, 2020, at 12:30 a.m.—International Women’s Day. I was rushed to University Medical Center Hospital during a virus outbreak. With a limited number of doctors, a woman Army surgeon and her staff saved my life, days before the COVID-19 lockdown. This random act of gun violence traumatized my relationship with my daughter. Every moment in life is a gift—no matter what we attract, good or bad. I try to always lean into feeling good emotionally; it is the path of least resistance.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.