Gang violence claims countless lives every year, both in Chicago and around the country. Senseless black-on-black killing has continued to spread unchecked while the media focuses their attention on other "racially-motivated" crimes. Do black lives only matter when they have been taken by someone of another color?
Zaevion Dobson, 15, was spending an evening with some family and friends in the neighborhood where he lived on December 17. The group of young people sat on the porch and talked, making plans for the upcoming holidays. Zae, as he was known by his friends, was a sophomore at Fulton High School in Knoxville, TN, and a member of the football team. His coach described him as "a guy that made the right choices that gave him a chance to be successful."
The same could not be said of another young man living in that area - Brandon Perry. Earlier that evening, someone had driven by Perry's house, firing shots which wounded Perry's mother. Perry set out on a mission of revenge. Picking a random area in the neighborhood, he opened fire. It was the place where Zae and his friends had gathered for the night. As soon as the shooting started, Zae, using his body as a human shield, quickly moved to cover three girls standing there. None of the girls were injured. Zae was not so fortunate. Perry's senseless act of "revenge" claimed Zae's life - that of an innocent young man not even connected with any gang. Perry quickly drove away, but less than 4 hours later, he was also dead - shot by members of a rival gang. Two suspects were later taken into custody.
How long until enough is enough? Zae was a bright young man full of potential who willingly gave his life to protect others. His is a name we need to see plastered on every headline around the nation. His was a life that mattered.