What do you know about the Philadelphians killed by guns this year? At least know their names.
By Helen Ubiñas
Published July 11, 2020
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: “At 10:24 a.m., a 27-year-old Black male was shot multiple times to the chest. He was transported to Temple University Hospital by police and is currently listed in critical condition. Scene held. No arrest. No weapon recovered.”
And then: “Update: He was pronounced at 10:41 p.m.”
That’s it, an entire life ending in a paragraph that may not even make the daily newspaper.
In a year like this one, even fewer stories will be heard.
The cracks that gun violence victims usually fall through have been made wider this year 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.
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 we have lost to the coronavirus, we should do the same for those lost to an epidemic that has been raging mostly unchecked for years.
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.
We’re only halfway through the year, and as I write this column, 196 people have been fatally shot in the city as of July 9. By the time you read this, there will only be more.