A Dedication to My Late Brother: Losing a Loved One to Gun Violence

Dear Jay,

Oh my little brother, I do miss you. Every day, I think of you and how your life would have been so different. You would have been 28 today, and that is something this world will miss. I still don’t understand why you were taken from us. In one moment, a gun took your life. I am stuck on wondering what happened and what could have been. I made a promise to you, when I looked over your body, your peaceful beautiful body. I promised that your life will have meaning; your story will carry through and you will save lives. In the past five years, I received emails, letters, and kind words, about how your story has helped kids and even saved them.Jason's last Bears Game

Life is hard and sometimes dark. But through the darkness comes light, and that light is beautiful. In our life, we will feel pain like no other, and then through the darkness we see beauty. This year, working with aggressive and violent students, was the building blocks for me. The students gave me more perspective and compassion. A chance to be a better me. Often I ended up crying with teens, hearing their stories of gun violence. On one of my programs, I asked how many kids had lost someone in their family to gun violence. Jay, all the hands went up. I had this rush of sadness overcome me. These kids were only 13 or 14 years old. They have felt my pain. So this year, more than others, I dedicate my work to you. We need to educate more and more about gun violence. We need to teach our youth to be empathetic and less aggressive. By doing this, we open up room for compassion, kindness, and forgiveness. Your life has saved more lives than you will ever know.

So my letter to you is to say thank you for what you have given me. Thank you for giving me the courage to fight, the power to listen, and the ability to share your story to help people.  Your life was taken too soon, but your legacy carries on to save our kids from violence.  I kept my promise, I dedicated all my programs to you, when I drive through the city of Chicago thinking of the work I do, I am grateful to have you in my heart. I have come a long way, and I will tell you all about it…when I see you again.

Happy Birthday Jay xoxo

Love Your Oldest Sister Jason younger

Until Next Time…

Kortney Peagram
Be Brace*Be Strong*Be a Bulldog

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