Young Parramore Residents Pay Tribute to Gun Violence Victims

A commemoration of life was held on Friday evening at the Boys and Girls Club in Parramore, located in Orange County, Florida. The event was organized to honor multiple young individuals who had tragically lost their lives due to gun violence. Named “Forever 13,” the gathering was arranged to celebrate the life of thirteen-year-old Damionna Reed, who was shot and killed on Easter Sunday. In addition, the lives of fifteen-year-old Antwan Roberts and fifteen-year-old Corey Jones, both victims of gun violence, were also honored.

Director Tasha Banks stated that it’s incredibly challenging for young members to come to terms with the sudden loss of a friend. She imparted, “How does one go on when you’re 13 and your classmate has been murdered?” conveying the mental anguish felt by the young members of the Boys and Girls Club. Despite this, Banks continued, “It is difficult to grieve the deaths of your club members, but I want their families to know, we are working really hard in here to support our kids to get through this.”

With schools closed for the summer, engaging with the youth is of the utmost importance, according to Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith. The event, held at the Boys and Girls Club, was aimed at providing a safe space for the young members to share in their grief and find support.

In a statement released after the event, Chief Smith commented, “The young people we lost to gun violence will always be remembered by the community. This is a time for mourning, and we must support each other as we work through these difficult times.”

The commemorative event displayed that communities can come together to provide support and comfort in difficult times, especially in the face of senseless tragedies. The Boys and Girls Club, in association with the community, provided a platform for the young members to express themselves and begin to navigate through their trauma. Providing mental health support is critical, especially to the youth, in hopes of preventing further tragedies in the future.

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