As activists and community members continue to work to end the crisis of gun violence in Chicago, much of our attention is focused on the many lives lost in this struggle.
As Ebony Magazine points out, often lost in this conversation is the struggle of survivors of gun violence.
“[ENOUGH] Beyond Murders: Struggles of Shooting Survivors in Chicago” is a fascinating and vital article that delves deep into the harrowing experiences of those who escaped the clutches of death, only to be met with indifference and silence.
“The killing of anyone, especially a child, is very wrong…However, I think it is a very sad message…when there is so much attention to those killed by gun violence, but almost no help and attention to those who survive it. It is as if [survivors] do not exist,” says Kimberley Johnson, mother of Ryann Brown, who was shot once in the head in 2006 while in a car with 20 and 16 year old brothers Clifton and Derek Lowe. Clifton, the driver, was shot and killed during the incident, and Derek was killed about one month later. Ryann is still hunted by the tragedy as she tries to navigate her days on a wheelchair.
Kimberley’s son, Ricky, was shot to death in 2012, so she understands the strain from both angles: “My son was murdered, so I understand. The dead is dead…I had to go into bankruptcy for Ricky’s death, and for Ryann’s shooting. But she is still alive and needs help to adjust to her new life. Society needs to step up to help… people should not wait until it happens to them,” she stressed.
According to writer Dr. K. B. St. Jean, “for every victim shot to death in Chicago, about 4-7 people are shot but not killed.”
As we continue to combat gun violence, and the root causes of this violence, we must ensure that the voices of survivors are heard, and that they have the supports they need.
Thoughts on the gun violence crisis in Chicago and across the country?
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