Memorial to the Lost

Memorial to the Lost
at Chester Eastside Ministries

Friday, November 27, 2015

On the front page of today's Delco Times -- The Memorial to the Lost at Widener

By Rick Kauffman

CHESTER >> Six-year-old Dahmi George doesn’t understand that his father isn’t coming home.
It’s been just seven months since his dad, 22-year-old Dominic Shaheed George, was shot 18 times in the back. It was the ninth murder in Delaware County in 2015, and one of a string of shootings in Chester, where there have been more than 20 homicides this year.
Dominic’s mother, Kristina Wright, said she was angry after the loss of her son, incensed that his murderer — whose identity she is confident she knows — walks free. But, with nowhere to focus her grief, she began studying the history of violence in Chester.
“I started finding out that there were so many unsolved murders in Chester,” Wright said. “I figured something would happen fast (in solving his murder), but it didn’t.”
Wright made a list of every murder she could trace back to 1980, using newspaper clips, county records, police blotter and far too many murders in her own extended family to count.
“My son always had that fear,” Wright said. “He always said, ‘Mom, it’s one of those days,’ and I told him, ‘It doesn’t have to be.’”
Seven months later, she and husband James Wright, Dominic’s father, are the guardians for two of their deceased son’s children, Dahmi, and his 6-month-old brother, Jeliyr, whom they affectionately call “Dom” after his middle name.
“His little brother didn’t get to meet his dad, because (Dominic) passed away a month before he was born,” James Wright said.
to read more, click here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In Memory of Dominic George -- the Memorial to the Lost at Widener

Many, many thanks to Danielle Martin and Courtney Bogan, nursing students at Widener, and to Dr. Brenda Kucirka, who displayed a memorial banner by Kristina George in memory of her son, Dominic, killed last April, with t-shirts from the Memorial to the Lost at Widener University Center.   

Tandra Banks, Kristina's daughter, whose partner, Daquann McIntyre was killed in 2014, with their daughter, Quanea.

Heeding God’s Call to end Gun Violence started a t-shirt memorial in 2014, commemorating deaths by gun violence in Delaware County over the last 5 years.  Every t-shirt tells a story.

On Thanksgiving Day of 2011, Breon Burton, aged 28, of Chester, was shot dead on his way to his grandmother’s house, by an 18 year old.  He was Marshelle Burton Johnson’s only child.  Every November, his Mom puts up a memorial at the place where he died.  She hasn’t been able to rejoin her family’s Thanksgiving meal – the hurt is still too raw.  She started volunteering with Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence a couple of years ago.  She reaches out to bereaved families – we gather with them for witnesses, we make donations toward funeral expenses.  She says it helps, a little.

This March, Cayman Naib, aged 13, of Newtown Square received an email from his school about his coursework.  He took a gun out of his father’s closet and shot himself dead.  His body wasn’t found for days.  His father had bought the gun years ago for protection – didn’t think Cayman knew the gun existed.  Since then, his father has made a video about the dangers of having a gun in the home, for National Suicide Prevention Week.  He said it helps, a little.

Last April, Dominic George, aged 23, was shot dead, trying to break up a domestic argument.   He left two children, six years old and six months old.  In the months since, his Mom made a banner, with the names of all of Chester’s homicide victims since the 1980’s.  She wanted to memorialize all Chester’s deaths in one place, and show the young children they need to live peacefully together.  She gave the banner to our Chapter of Heeding God’s Call, to display.  She hopes it will help a little.

The US has a gun violence problem.  No other developed country does such a bad job of keeping guns away from children, from people with criminal records, substance abuse problems (alcohol as well as illegal drugs), histories of domestic abuse, mental problems.  Guns kill 88 people – 8 of them children—every day of the year.  Nation-wide, gun violence is far and away the leading cause of death for young African-American men, and the second most common cause of death for all our youth (after auto accidents).

If  current homicide rates in Chester continue, one in 16 of today’s teenage boys in Chester will be shot dead before age 35.  There’s a whole generation of boys who don’t really expect to grow to manhood.  Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence is a band of faith communities working to stop the bloodshed.

By raising awareness of the human toll of gun trafficking  – our t-shirt memorials remind us all to stop, read, pray, and remember the victims of gun violence.

By joining with bereaved families to remember their loved ones, by making donations toward funeral expenses, and, we hope soon, helping them access grief counselling.

By learning about the legal issues and legislative developments that make it harder for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (the ATF) from enforcing laws against straw sales and gun trafficking and prevent the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from conducting research on gun violence

By working together toward the day when everyone in Delaware County has safe streets, and quiet nights, and all the young people in their midst have a chance to grow up and pursue their dreams.

Friday, November 13, 2015

In today's NYT: How Gun Traffickers Evade State Laws

by Gregor Aish and Josh Keller

In California, some gun smugglers use FedEx. In Chicago, smugglers drive just across the state line into Indiana, buy a gun and drive back. In Orlando, Fla., smugglers have been known to fill a $500 car with guns and send it on a ship to crime rings in Puerto Rico.
In response to mass shootings in the last few years, more than 20 states, including some of the nation’s biggest, have passed new lawsrestricting how people can buy and carry guns. Yet the effect of those laws has been significantly diluted by a thriving underground market for firearms brought from states with few restrictions.
About 50,000 guns are found to be diverted to criminals across state lines every year, federal data shows, and many more are likely to cross state lines undetected.
In New York and New Jersey, which have some of the strictest laws in the country, more than two-thirds of guns tied to criminal activity were traced to out-of-state purchases in 2014. Many were brought in via the so-called Iron Pipeline, made up of Interstate 95 and its tributary highways, from Southern states with weaker gun laws, like Virginia, Georgia and Florida.
to read more, click here