What do you know about the Philadelphians killed by guns this year? At least know their names.
By Helen Ubiñas
Updated December 14, 2020
The last time we published the names of those lost to gun violence, in early July, nearly 200 people had been fatally shot in the city.
By the end of 2020, that number more than doubled: 447 people gunned down.
Even in a “normal” year, most of their stories would never be told.
At best they’d be reduced to a handful of lines in a media alert:
“A 21-year-old Black male was shot one time in the head. He was transported to Temple University Hospital and was pronounced at 8:12 p.m. The scene is being held, no weapon recovered and no arrest.”
That’s it. An entire life ending in a paragraph that may never make the daily newspaper.
In a year like 2020, even fewer of those stories have been heard.
Gun violence victims fall through cracks now made wider by a pandemic that disproportionately kills Blacks and Latinos, despite a national reckoning on racial justice that has put the spotlight on inequality in America.
It’s hard not to wonder the difference that reckoning might have made had it come earlier for those who lost their lives under the same systemic racism.
To look at the ever-growing list of those killed by guns so far this year, some things are obvious: Most of the people whose lives were cut short were young, Black men, mostly in their 20s.
Most of their murders will go unsolved.
But that is not the beginning or the end. There was more to all of their lives. They were sons, brothers and friends. They were loved. They were here.
While we mark the lives and deaths of those lost to coronavirus, we should do the same for those lost to an epidemic that has been raging mostly unchecked for generations.
Help me do that. Send me a photograph of your loved one, call (215-854-5943), or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and leave a remembrance.
If you notice that your loved one’s name is spelled wrong on the list provided by the Philadelphia Police Department, don’t hesitate to reach out so we can get it right.
A few weeks ago, Dina Marcella Huskey contacted me to correct her son’s name.
“It’s so weird because my baby died with his identification in his pocket and they still spelled his name wrong,” she said.
Her 21-year-old son, Khalil Lamont Williams-Huskey, was killed March 5.