DC Gun Violence Survivors Award Scholarships – NBC4 Washington

People who have lost loved ones to gun violence Thursday awarded scholarships to DC youth who have also felt that pain.

The TraRon Center, a district organization created to help survivors, handed out the first grants in memory of Jeremy Black. The Peace Corps director and father of two was fatally struck by a stray bullet less than a year ago when he and his wife Cathy Feingold were taking a walk after dinner at 14th Street NW. He was 53.

Black’s widow spoke at the awards ceremony about choosing hope, even as gun violence increases in the district.

“Like our family, tonight’s recipients are survivors of gun violence who must balance the weight of grief with the expectation for a hopeful future,” Feingold said.

What unites survivors of gun violence is stronger than what happened to them, said TraRon Center founder Ryane Nickens.

“We hate how we got here, we hate what connects us – that our loved ones are no longer with us physically – but the bond that will keep us is: not another. We will work to make that happen,” he said. they.

Two women who have lost loved ones to gun violence in Washington, DC, team up to help the growing number of people, including children, who have also lost relatives or friends. Jackie Bensen of News4 spoke to them. Editor’s Note: The correct spelling of the organization’s name is The TraRon Center.

Nickens lost her sister, Tracy C. Hall, in a shooting in 1993, and her brother, Ronald L. Nickens, to another in 1996. Nickens’ organization now bears their name.

Days after her husband’s death, Feingold called Nickens, a stranger, asking how she could help her efforts against violence. Ten months later, five high school students in DC from Divisions 5, 7, and 8 are preparing for college with a $4,000 scholarship to Black. They each wrote about how gun violence has affected their lives.

Stories from DC Students

“I asked my class and my teacher to raise their hands if they knew someone who has been killed by gun violence in the past five years. Everyone raised their hands,” wrote award winner Tori Tracey.

Tracey, a 17-year-old senior at Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School, lost two high school students in her family to shootings.

“They were killed before they had a chance to go to university,” she said.

Tracey attends North Carolina A&T State University. She has an eye for politics and is already helping her community, including by setting up a food bank.

Awardee Montez Steele, a 17-year-old senior at Friendship Tech Prep Academy, said seeing people his age murdered motivated him to go to college. He will be pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.

Khloe Ladson wants to be a forensic scientist. Liyah Tyner is an aspiring writer trying to change how black people are portrayed in movies and on television. A fifth recipient, Ra’Mya Davis, was unable to attend the event but will attend Howard University.

The students received their scholarship on the roof terrace of the Adams Morgan restaurant Roofers Union. Owner Roger Marmet lost his son Tom to a stray bullet in northeastern DC in 2018.

If you look closely, the shards around you are still reflecting light

Cathy Feingold, widow of DC gun violence victim Jeremy Black

In an interview earlier this year, Feingold, who named her husband Jerry, said she saw two possible ways to deal with loss.

“There are only two paths, and the path I have chosen is – we are absolutely grieving. We miss Jerry every day. It will be a hole in our family’s carpet for the rest of our lives, but we have to keep growing our carpet the way it wants it to,” she said.

The scholarship winners will take their next big step with love and support from people who want to see good come out of terrible pain.

“The past year has certainly shown me that if you look closely, the shards around you still bring out reflections of light,” Feingold said.

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