A teenager is gunned down in broad daylight in Sherman Park, just feet away from a basketball court. Shocked and heartbroken loved ones arrive and the horror is captured by TV news cameras.

The trauma and the pain are instantly seared into our memory.

It’s sadly an all too familiar scene, as we have seen a tremendous amount of senseless violence in the past couple of days here in Milwaukee. As of Wednesday, the Milwaukee Police Department has reported 38 homicides so far in 2021. At least six minors, between the ages of 13 and 17, have been killed by gun violence in Milwaukee so far in 2021. It is absolutely inexcusable, and this deadly violence is tearing apart families across our city.

This week alone, we have seen two 17-year-olds shot and killed. We also saw two 14-year-olds shot, and one of them unfortunately passed away due to her injuries. The simple fact that our children are not safe to play basketball without the fear of dying is so deeply troubling and disturbing, and we cannot emphasize enough how desperately we need change.

We cannot look for anyone else to make the change but ourselves. Nobody is going to be able to stop this brutal violence but us. We as a community need to come together and work to protect our neighborhoods from this brutality, or we run the risk of losing more of our precious children to gun violence.

We are begging the community to work together on stopping this behavior. We can be the start of a new era which condemns gun violence and actually makes an effort to stop it. So, as we conclude this message, we invite you to look at your neighborhood and the children in it. We implore you to think of them when you are considering how you can play a role in stopping this violence.

In a year that has already been filled with so much hatred and violence, we do not need any more unnecessary deaths in our community. Please be the change in your community you wish to see.

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