Girl Who Penned Essay On Gun Violence Killed By Stray Bullet

Sandra Parks was only 13 years old.

This Thanksgiving holiday (you know, aside from commemorating the ills of the colonization of "American" land) was supposed to be about bonding with family over food, but for one family, it is filled with grief.

Two days before the holiday (Nov. 20), 13-year-old Sandra Parks was struck and killed by a stray bullet while she was watching television in her Milwaukee home. According to WISN, Parks was able to articulate the inevitable to her mother before she passed. "She took it like a soldier," her sister Tatiana Ingram said. "She just walked in the room and said, 'Mama, I'm shot.'"

While all instances gun violence is extremely sad, this particular senseless instance is gut-wrenching because just two years earlier, Parks had written a poignant, award-winning essay on the gun violence that plagues her hometown for a Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest.

"We are in a state of chaos," she had written. "In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost every day. Little children are victims of senseless gun violence. There is too much black on black crime."

Our thoughts are with Parks' family. Read her 2016 essay "Our Truth" in full below:

Our Truth

By Sandra Parks

Sometimes, I sit back and I have to escape from what I see and hear every day. I put my headphones on and let the music take me away. I move to the beat and try to think about life and what everything means. When I do; I come to the same conclusion … we are in a state of chaos. In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost everyday. Little children are victims of senseless gun violence. There is too much black on black crime. As an African-American, that makes me feel depressed. Many people have Lost faith in America and its ability to be a living example of Dr. King’s dream!

The truth is faith and hope in what people can do, has been lost in the poor choices we make. We shall overcome has been lost in the lie of who we have become! So now, the real truth is, we need to rewrite our story so that faith and hope for a better tomorrow, is not only within us, but we believe it and we put it into actions.

Our first truth is that we must start caring about each other. We need to be empathetic and try to walk in each other’s shoes. We shall overcome when we eliminate the negative and nasty comments people make about each other. We shall overcome, when we love ourselves and the people around us. Then, we become our brothers keeper.

Our second truth is that we need to have purpose. We are the future generation, therefore we must have an education to make a positive difference in the world. We are the future leaders, but if we don’t have an education, we will accomplish nothing. We will overcome, when we use our education to make the world a better place. We will become the next President, law enforcement officers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and lawmakers. We cannot continue to put the responsibility on other people. It is our responsibility as future leaders!

We must not allow the lies of violence, racism, and prejudice to be our truth. The truth begins with us. Instead of passing each other like ships in the night, we must fight until our truths stretch to the ends of the world.

READ MORE: 2 Chainz Attacks Gun Violence After “Appalling” Murder Of 3-Year-Old Fan, Thirigi Craig

From the Web

More on Vibe

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

Maryland Judge Overturns Jury's Decision To Award Korryn Gaines Family $37 Million

A Maryland judge has overturned a jury's decision to award the surviving family of Korryn Gaines $37 million. The 23-year-old was shot twice, along with her 5-year-old son Kodi, during an hour-long standoff in August 2016. The child survived Gaines did not.

According to CNN, Baltimore County Circuit Court Associate Judge Mickey J. Norman stated in an opinion Cpl Royce Ruby's conduct was "entitled to qualified immunity," which translates as Ruby was well within his rights as a member of law enforcement and is "shielded from liability for civil damages."

Norman's opinion states Ruby acted within the margins of the law. "This court has found that Corporal Ruby is entitled to qualified immunity and therefore, his shooting of Gaines was not unlawful."

However, Norman states the damages Gaines' surviving family was seeking were "excessive and shocks the conscience."

The jury awarded $32.85 million to Gaines' son Kodi, $23, 542 for his medical bills and $4.53 million to Gaines' daughter Karsyn Courtney. The jury also found it fit to award Gaines' mother Rhanda Dormeus $307,000 and $300,000 to her father Ryan Gaines.

Judge Norman said the court would grant a new civil trial on account of this new opinion.

J. Wyndal Gordon, Gaines' family lawyer said the family is disappointed but not "defeated nor deterred from doing what must be done now."

"We have great appellate issues and an excellent opportunity to have reviewed not just the recent decision but some of the earlier decisions in the case that were disfavorable," Gordon said. "Nobody told us the road would be easy. I don't believe God brought us this far to leave us. This case is by no means over. We will fight to the finish to preserve the jury's verdict and restore justice to the family."

Baltimore County police spokesperson confirmed that Cpl Royce Ruby is still a member of the department.

Continue Reading
Broward's Sheriff's office

Rising Florida Rapper YNW Melly Charged With Killing His Two Friends

Rising Florida rapper YNW Melly has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of his friends and roommates.

According to reports, Melly, real name Jamell Demons, is being held without bail in connection to the October 2018 shooting of fellow rappers Anthony Williams, 21, and Christopher Thomas Jr., 19. Both were shot multiple times at about 4:30 AM October 26 and later pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital Miramar.

Melly was the second person arrested in connection with the double-homicide, according to Miramar police. Cortlen Henry, 20, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. In January, Henry was arrested in Houston and extradited to Fort Lauderdale where he was taken into police custody.

Wednesday evening (Feb. 13) it was revealed via Melly's Instagram account he turned himself into police.

Per a Miramar new release, Henry and Demons attempted to cover up the murder as a drive-by shooting. However, after investigators spoke to Henry, they noticed his recollection of events didn't match up with the preliminary evidence. Demons, Thomas and Henry were all roommates and shared a two-story home in Miramar.

Henry was reportedly the driver while Demons shot both men. Demons was promoting his album, We All Shine, which features the certified gold track “Murder on my Mind.”

Continue Reading
Antonio Perez

Jason Van Dyke Reportedly Attacked In Federal Prison

Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago police officer who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014, was reportedly attacked shortly after being transferred to a Connecticut facility. According to the Chicago Tribune, Van Dyke was beaten inside his prison cell.

“We are petrified and very worried about Jason’s safety,” Van Dyke's wife Tiffany said in an emailed statement to reporters. “Jason wants to serve his time and does not want any trouble. We are hoping prison officials will take quick action to rectify this situation.”

Tiffany Van Dyke and her attorney allege they didn't know Jason was being transferred from Illinois to the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution. Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Reportedly, he could be released in as little as three.

The state attorney general and special prosecutors on Monday announced they filed a petition with the Illinois Supreme Court to challenge Van Dyke's sentence, which was handed down by Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan.

Despite being found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery--one count for each time Van Dyke shot the teen--he wasn't charged for it. Each count carries a minimum of six years in jail. When combined Van Dyke could've faced 96 years in prison.

After Van Dyke's conviction but prior to his sentencing, he was held in isolation at a Quad Cities-area jail. The decision was part of a Cook County arrangement for high-profile, dangerous or inmates cooperating with authorities in cases.

Continue Reading

Top Stories