Thursday, July 23, 2009
These shrine elements are for Anthony Reginald Ford Jr, nicknamed "Yukon" since childhood, who was killed in front of 75 58th St SE, Washington DC at about 1 AM, July 7th, 2009.
Police responded to reports of gunshots and found Anthony Reginald Ford Jr, 26, suffering from multiple gunshots. He had been watching fireworks with friends from the neighborhood, according to his uncle David Ford, whom he lived with. The uncle heard several quick blasts that did not sound like fireworks, and rushed to the window. Frightened neighbors yelled that his nephew had been shot, and that the killer had run off. David Ford began performing CPR. He observed that his nephew was alive when the EMS & police came. He was transferred to Prince Georges Hospital, some distance away, and pronounced dead. The security camera in the neighborhood, installed to deter crime and collect evidence, did not function the night of the murder.
His mother, Ms. Ella Carey, emailed me an invitation to photograph the memorial, which has since been removed out of respect for the property owners where David fell. We later spoke at length by phone. She related words to me that reflected her sorrowful feelings and experience:
She spoke of how when Jesus was being crucified on the cross, an equal, if not greater, agony was borne by his mother Mary, and his beloved friends and followers, who were made helpless and bereft by his pain, and their own loss.
This really struck me. Though I am of a different faith (Jewish) I have a profound respect for sincere Christian traditions and teachings.
Ms. Carey's words resonated with my understanding of the impact violence makes beyond the initial victim, and the terrible earthquakes it sets off. Her son leaves behind a six-year-old son of his own, who now needs to be guided into manhood by others in his family - his granduncle and others, along with the women in the family. From all accounts, young Mr. Anthony Ford was a decent man, minded his own business, was a positive person, an attentive and responsible parent, and gave no trouble to anyone.
Anthony Ford Jr. had his funeral on July 18, 2009. Three hundred plus mourners were in attendance at the family's church.
David Ford says there is now a hole, a silence in his house, in his life.
His mother wrote "I am crying for some help as well as justice.
... A mother that's hurting because of the lost of her innocent son. (YUKON LIVED FOR SOMETHING AND DIED FOR NOTHING)."
UPDATE: Mr Ford's shrine was renewed by his family and friends on the occasion of his birthday.