The Senseless Deaths of Three Young Men
While the nation reacts to Trayvon Martin’s death, Denver loses three of its own
By: State Representative Angela Williams
On April 4th, we will observe, in multiple moments of silence and reflection, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. His life was cut short 44 years ago today when a rifle’s bullet killed him on a hotel balcony in Memphis. Yet, every day in our communities nationwide – including here in Denver – we continue to stand by as our young and primarily minority men die through senseless, heartbreaking violence.
Last week, Isaiah Garcia, 18, was home with his wife and their 18-month-old child on Knox Court when someone knocked on their front door and shot him at point-blank range.
Dequan Walker-Smith, also 18, was shot dead in a park on 29th and Franklin near Manual High School.
And Tamoi Millan Elliott, 25, was stopped at a red light on Montview and Dayton, when he was shot and killed.
The families of these three young men, which included their own young children, grieve their loss with scant attention from the media. But their deaths are, in many ways, just as tragic as Trayvon Martin in a suburban Orlando community being shot in the chest by a reportedly overzealous neighborhood watchman who shouldn’t have owned a gun in the first place. Large crowds nationwide have decried the unnecessary violence.
Shouldn’t people in Colorado do the same for these three men?
Perhaps it’s the perception that our great state is immune from such tragedies. Or it’s the assumption that young men of color dying from gun violence only do so in other cities far from our idyllic plains and snow-capped mountains. We don’t want to think of Denver in that way.
But, if we are to preserve the greatness that is Mile High City, we must face some ugly realities head on. We can’t ignore the violence – we must stop it. Each death is different – but they all have one thing in common: a young man is dead and the tears that families shed won’t bring any of them back.
Ignoring the violence and never expecting it to hit home won’t address the problem, either.
This is not a political message to grab headlines. It’s a call for urgency. You see, the violence that everyone reads about every day is now personal. Tamoi Elliott was a member of my family.
Now is the time for action. I am urging all of our religious leaders to join me in calling for a day of community prayer to remember those who have passed – and to help our young men under siege. Thousands of people gather every January in Denver to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday. We need to rediscover that same energy and use it to save our homes and protect our families.
Let’s unite and demand an end to this senseless violence.