Mitchell: Children are martyrs — and young men are killers

SHARE Mitchell: Children are martyrs — and young men are killers

Takiya Holmes, 11, Lavontay White, 2, and Kanari Gentry-Bowers, 12, were killed within a period of four days in Chicago. | Family photos

Follow @MaryMitchellCSTSo it has come to this.

Our babies are martyrs and our young men are killers?

In just four days, three children have been killed. Takiya Holmes, 11, was shot in the head while sitting in a car in the 6500 Block of South King Drive on Saturday night. She was taken off life support and died Tuesday morning at Comer Children’s Hospital.

Two-year-old Lavontay White was killed on Tuesday when someone opened fire on a car he was in. Also killed was a 26-year-old man whom police described as a “documented gang member.”

Kanari Gentry-Bowers, the 12-year-old struck by a stray bullet as she played at her school playground on Saturday night in the West Englewood neighborhood, died on Wednesday after four days on life support at Stroger Hospital.

On Wednesday afternoon, five people were shot — three fatally — in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side. The shooting happened at 2:58 p.m. in the 3900 block of South Albany, Chicago Police said. The group was inside a home when an unknown male walked inside and began shooting. A police source said the shooting appeared to be related to drugs.

The only positive thing that can be said about this madness is that police had community cooperation and a video, and that enabled them to make a quick arrest in Takiya’s shooting.

Antwan C. Jones, 19, is charged with first-degree murder in Takiya’s death. Like so many of the young people charged with gun crimes, Jones has a string of juvenile arrests.

Last year, he was charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic battery and a single count of criminal damage to property, according to Cook County court records.


Follow @MaryMitchellCSTHe also was charged with misdemeanor assault to a teacher, but that case was dismissed when the victim failed to show up in court, according to court records.

An alleged gang member, Jones was protecting drug turf when he fired at drug dealers who were selling marijuana on his crew’s spot, according to Cook County prosecutors.

“There was some type of feud that they have going and self-hatred,” said Andrew Holmes, a community activist and Takiya’s cousin.

“We were able to talk to the community and get the community to talk to the police department. The Englewood Political Task Force, and United for Peace called a group meeting to try and stop this violence,” Holmes said.


For activist Andrew Holmes, finding Takiya’s shooter was personal

Four days after shooting, 12-year-old Kanari Gentry-Bowers dies

No bail for man accused of shooting 11-year-old Takiya Holmes

In 2015, Holmes lost his own daughter to gun violence when she was caught in gunfire that erupted outside an Indianapolis nightclub.

As is too often the case, the deadly shots rang out on the street named to honor Martin Luther King Jr., a man who dedicated his life to liberating African-Americans from racial segregation.

And again, Parkway Gardens — once a source of pride for African-Americans — is at the center of the violence.

Police used videotape to identify Jones as he and his friends walked through the Parkway Gardens.

Holmes wants to know what apartment Jones lived in and whose name is on the lease.

“How are they living?” he asked.

“We need to know how many complaints have been made about this apartment and why nothing is being done about the ongoing violence,” he said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said these terrible shootings must be a “turning point for our city” and again called on Springfield to pass “meaningful gun control” and sentencing legislation.

“Our criminal justice system owes it to all of us to give violent offenders sentences that match the severity of the crimes they have committed,” he said.

But what do black people owe themselves?

Jones couldn’t have conducted his drug dealing around the housing complex where he lived without people knowing about it.

The time to speak up was when the trouble showed up.

Our ancestors withstood the lash and the noose to be able to live freely.

Many of the successful African-Americans in this city are where they are today because of the sacrifices that these hardworking black folks made.

But when young black men with guns are killing their own people to push marijuana on the street, while white businessmen with portfolios are poised to make a fortune selling it from dispensaries, then black people are the butt-end of a cruel joke.

Is that the black history lesson we want our children to share with their children after we are gone?

Tweets by @MaryMitchellCST

The Latest
It wasn’t immediately clear how the driver fell, Illinois State Police said.
Patrick Williams and Ayo Dosunmu are still very much in the plans for the Bulls moving forward, but they’re no longer in the starting lineup. So how can they continue to develop with less minutes, while the Bulls try and start winning games more consistently? That’s the wire the coaching staff will now walk.
The Americans are winless in 12 games against European opponents at the World Cup since 2002, losing six, and are 1-7 during the tournament’s knockout rounds.
Understanding the minds of ice anglers, a suburban great horned owl, the harvest from Wisconsin’s gun season and a question on hunting shed antlers are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.