At the age of 10, I senselessly lost my best friend to gun violence. Even as an elementary school student, Reubin Elder represented something bigger to us. Reubin was a popular and straight-A student who tragically died in a random drive-by shooting in our Highland Park neighborhood.
So much of our conversations around gun violence centers around those who died from it. But what if those bullets hadn’t killed Reubin? If he had survived, would society have provided the support and services needed to get Reubin back on his feet?
I know the simple answer, because I’ve lived it firsthand — we wouldn’t. I have lost dozens more of my friends to gun violence. From an early age, because of the mentorship and support of my basketball coach, I was determined to get out and make something of myself.