Addressing the effects of gun violence is not only about the gun it's about how it's destroying our community and an entire generation.
Benjamin was twenty-three years old and was affectionately known as "Big Ben" by his friends. Benjamin loved his family very much. He always wanted to make everyone happy and would always think of others before himself. Benjamin was very close to his grandfather and they would watch wrestling together from the time he was born. Benjamin wrote poetry, played football, wrestled, and drew in his spare time. He also loved video games and wanted to have a career in video game design and development.
October 12, 2012
It's a date that for so many was an ordinary and regular day. Unfortunately, for my family and I, it is a date that we will never forget.
My son, Benjamin became the 17th homicide victim in Trenton, New Jersey and an innocent bystander harmed by senseless gun violence. At 8pm, my son was sitting on the porch of his grandparents' home when a car with a gunman hanging out of the passenger window drove down Passaic Street and fired 15 to 20 rounds at the sidewalk, leaving a trail of shell casings more than a block long.
Benjamin was struck by one of the bullets and made it inside to ask his grandfather to call the police before collapsing and dying. My dad held his hand as he passed, and that last moment has given me comfort knowing that he did not have to die alone.
Almost eight years later, no one has been charged with the murder of my son, and the police have no new information.
Benjamin is survived by his only son, Tykir, who is eight years old and never got the opportunity to know his father. Tykir is always asking questions about his dad, and I try to answer them as best as I can.
I talk about Benjamin everyday because I want Tykir to know his dad the way we knew him.
I did not just loose my son, I lost the opportunity to see him be a father to his only son, to see him grow and achieve his goals, to hear him say "I love you my mother" again, to see him making new memories with his loved ones. I lost my future. My life has been forever changed.
When asked how loosing Benjamin has affected me, I describe a fractured leg that did not heal properly, and now you walk with a slight limp. Everyday you are aware that your gait is different... and now walking is very painful. There are some days you can tolerate the pain, and other days the pain is just too much to bear. But somehow you still get up and walk.