On Sept.28, I lost my best friend. He was gunned down in north Fresno due to gang violence. He was 16 and just starting to get a taste of the real world.
Many things can drive a kid toward gang recruitment, whether it’s resentment, the need for protection or simply living in the wrong environment. However, it’s not worth it. Once someone puts a label on you, there’s a target on your back that you can’t shake off.
Think about the ones who are affected when we can no longer speak to or touch you ever again. How can we cope with that? It’s not easy and that’s coming from a person who is not in a gang but lost several loved ones to them.
I’m only 17 and I surprise myself every day with how strong I am. Nonetheless, everyone is different. Do you think you would still be able to function if you lost your best friend? Within the blink of an eye you could be attending a funeral. All of this was because of a street name or sign. That’s why I truly feel as one, we have to do better.
Tyairah Thomas, Fresno