I am still wondering when are we as a people will have some righteous indignation about the constant killings of our youth by other kids. Come on people of Chicago: what will it take for you to get really fed up? Will it be when you lose your son or daughter that you will finally feel that this must be stopped?
I just read the column by Janet Jackson [We are losing our children to senseless killings, Aug. 27, 2009] over the loss of her son, Paris Jackson, by some 15-year-old young man that I guess was trying to prove something. What will it take for the parents of these youth who are doing the killings to finally do something with their children before they become killers? Like Ms. Jackson says, everybody loses in these situations. She lost her precious son and now has a pain in her heart that will never go away. The parents of her son’s shooter have lost a son to the criminal justice system.
I speak from my heart having lost my beautiful precious daughter Rolanda LaKesia Marshall at the age of 14 in 1993 in a drive-by shooting on North Avenue and Lockwood inside the Beefee restaurant. To this day, no one has been charged. People in my neighborhood at the time did not speak up and help with information as to what they saw – one way or the other. So, you see, this is being repeated over and over again. I still ask: how many more people – and Lord, our precious children – have to die. As a mother who lost a child to this senseless gun violence; they say it was maybe over a drug war.
Can someone please tell me why drugs are still a problem since there has been a war on drugs for well over 40 years in this country? So you are telling me that this great city and country of ours can’t stop this chaos and mayhem plaguing our city and country? Will it ever stop? Or will we continue to say, “Oh, it can’t be stopped in the ‘hood.'”
Don’t you see that we as a people have to determine what we will accept in our neighborhood, because losing a child to violence should never be accepted by society?
When my daughter Rolanda was killed I spoke out about gun violence, and the easy accessibility of guns to youth. And, for common sense gun laws; there have been some strides made in these areas but it is not enough. The youth are having guns put in their hands and told to use them by adults. I said at the time of my loss that there was a silence in my community. There were no witnesses that came forward with any information about my daughter’s killing. I am now asking for someone from that neighborhood to say who killed my 14-year-(young) daughter on Aug. 28, 1993 while she was sitting inside the restaurant. They fired at least 14 rounds of bullets into that restaurant window.
When I got to the scene, all I could see were bullet casings lying on the ground. One bullet struck my daughter Rolanda in the head. It tore across her brain, severing her brain stem. We had her on life support; she never regained consciousness. After nine days I had to remove her from life support. It was one of the hardest things in my life that I will ever do. I don’t wish for any parent to have to bury their child; it’s just out of order with the sequence of our life. But I will tell you: having your child shot to death adds another dimension to your grieving process, and I know it leaves a hole in your heart that never heals.
My daughter Rolanda was an excellent student, almost straight-A’s for 8 years at Portage Park School, where she received many awards of excellent attendance and grades. She was in a gifted program at the Dusable Museum of African American History. Rolanda had attended the University of Illinois at Chicago in their scholar’s program, and also Northeastern University in their gifted program. She was a writer, poet, teacher, cook, a dancer and a singer. She was just a good and decent human being.
All her teachers, friends and relatives had nothing but high praises for my beloved Rolanda. I only have good, fond memories of our beloved daughter. She was a true joy to us and still is a great loss to us. Jan. 8, 2010 would have been her 31st birthday. We celebrate her life and keep her memory alive by assisting other families impacted by gun violence through our support group.
Please – our Austin Weekly family and the North Austin community – if you have information about my daughter’s killing, it’s time you came forward and let someone know who killed her.