One family behind the numbers

“We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”           Martin Luther King, Jr.

On January 11, the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School community celebrated its Mass for Racial Justice and recognized the 344 people who were murdered in Baltimore during 2015. Before Mass, our peer ministers wrote each and every name of the people who lost their lives on a scroll of white paper that was then hung in Healy Hall.

Some of the names were familiar to us. Some of them caused tears. When senior Briahna Jackson, a peer minister, inscribed the name of someone she knew well, she realized that she was still in mourning and that many in our city still are. Here’s what she shared during Mass:

“There were 344 homicides in Baltimore in 2015. Three hundred and forty four families mourning, 344 lives lost, mostly young black men under the age of 50.

One of those people was someone I knew.

Briahna Jackson
Senior Briahna Jackson speaks during Mass.

It is one thing to know that there is violence and killing in Baltimore; I knew that. But it is another thing to know someone who has lost his life to this violence, to mourn him. To worry that you’ll have to endure losing someone else that you care for, to worry if those you care for will ever have to mourn you.

It is real. This situation is dire, and it affects all of us, in ways that we realize and in ways that we do not.

Having to write the name of someone I knew was an emotionally awakening event for me. We are still mourning. The families of those people lost last year to the violence of this city are still mourning.

In all this, I continue to wish and pray that the violence and pain that we as people of Baltimore inflicted upon one another will just cease. However, I know it is not that easy; we must change the counterproductive mindsets and mentalities that our city has had for decades.

We must begin to rebuild ourselves and our communities, but it starts with us.”

Mass for Racial Justice
Two seniors read the names of the 344 people who were murdered in Baltimore last year.



Photos by Christine Langr

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