Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: A great-grandma’s heart is broken for our murdered children

King Carter, a Northwest Miami-Dade 6 year old shot to death by a stray bullet.
King Carter, a Northwest Miami-Dade 6 year old shot to death by a stray bullet.

I really don’t know where to start, but I guess there is no good place to start when our children are killing each other in the streets.

As a mom/grandma/great-grandma, my heart goes out to the families of the murdered children. The pain of knowing your innocent little boy — I’m speaking of 6-year-old King Carter — was killed while he walked to a neighborhood store for some candy, is more than anyone should have to bear. Seems the victims are getting younger.

As I write this, the shooting of little King had barely sunk in when we heard the news of another youngster shot and killed. His friend is recovering in the hospital.

I have two little great-grandsons. They are cousins, born only four months apart. At 8 years old, they have already seen too much violence. When they visit me, they like to play with the boys next door or the ones who live down the street. I can tell you, I never rest when they are with me. There is no sitting in my favorite chair, reading a good book while they are outside playing. I am constantly going to the front door, checking on them.

The elementary school in Miami Gardens where Jaylen attends has been under lockdown several times since school started. And I can always count on him to give me a full account of the lockdown and how he had to help his friends run and hide in a closet (his version). Then, a few blocks away at Miami Carol City High, a drive-by shooting happened a couple of weeks ago. And now the victims of a series of shootings were 16 and younger.

When President Barack Obama said it seems that we Americans are growing numb to all the killing of our children and innocents, he is right. Now the numbness seems to have trickled down to our young children. Their vocabularies should not be peppered with such language as drive-by shootings and school lockdowns. Our children shouldn’t have to grow up in fear of walking to the corner store to buy a bag of Skittles.

When my own sons were growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, parents didn’t worry about our children getting shot while playing on the front porch or while walking home from school, or playing a pick-up game of basketball in the park down the street.

We had other worries back then — like the drug epidemic in the Liberty City neighborhood where we lived at the time. While we worried about our children getting involved in drugs, we never worried about drive-by shootings. In fact, I don’t remember even hearing that term when my sons were growing up. I’m not trying to say everything was fine back then. We had our trials and our children had their temptations.

In the space of a year, two teens were found dead of drug overdoses near our Liberty City neighborhood. At the time, we lived across the street from the Liberty Square Housing Project (now dubbed Pork ’N Beans Project). I thought that if I moved my sons away from the drugs, they would be safe. But teens were still dying from drug overdoses.

Today, I rarely hear of a teenager dying from a drug overdose. It’s death by guns now. But it doesn’t matter if it’s drugs or bullets that is the cause of a child’s death. Our hearts still bleed when a child dies, even more so, when it is a violent death.

According to a front-page story in Thursday’s Miami Herald, the teens charged with shooting little King had an virtual argument on social media that turned into real-life violence. It seems they were seeking vengeance over something on Facebook that angered them. The angry teens never gave it a second thought when they allegedly opened fire on their so-called enemy, missing him, but taking the life of an innocent child, happily on his way to buy some candy.

Police arrested Irwen Pressley, 17, and Leonard Adams, 18, and charged them with second-degree murder for King’s death, and attempted first-degree murder of their intended target, a person named Ju Ju.

I am happy that Pressley and Adams were arrested. There are other shooters out there. And until they are all rounded up and put behind bars, our children are not safe.

If there is any good to come out of the tragedy of murdered children, it is that the community is finally coming around and saying, enough is enough. People are starting to cooperate with police. This is a good thing. But I am sad that it has taken the killings of too many of our children for the community to wake up.


Congratulations to Roxanne Vargas of NBC6 South Florida and Deborah Briggs of the Betsy Hotel who will each be honored with the Aqua Ally Award during a reception 6 to 9 p.m. March 9 at the Bacardi headquarters, 2701 Le Jeune Rd.

Vargas and Briggs are being honored as women who “stand with us in the fight for equality,” according to information from the Aqua Foundation for Women, which is sponsoring the event.

Vargas has been with NBC6 since 2003, and joined the news team in May 2007. In 2012, she was voted “Best TV Host” by The Miami New Times and is the host of the NBC6’s Lifestyle and Entertainment show, 6 in the Mix.

Briggs serves as s vice president for philanthropy at the Betsy Hotel, working with her family to create and sustain one of the most creative hotel brands in the world, and one that champions philanthropy, arts, culture and education.

Tickets are $75 for Aqua Foundation members, $85 in advance for nonmembers and $95 at the door. Email


Music lovers still have time to catch South Florida Fusion presented by Miami Dade College Kendall Campus and the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami at 4 p.m. Sunday at Bet Shira Congregation, 7500 SW 120th St.

The concert will feature The Second Avenue Jewish Chorale in a program of eclectic Jewish music. For more details, visit


The Miami Chapter-Black Nurses Association will present a program geared to violence reduction in the Miami-Dade community titled “The NBNA Call to Action: Nurses Against Violence.”

The event, 8 a.m. to noon March 5 at the Betty T. Ferguson Community Center, 3000 NW 199th St.,n Miami Gardens, is a part of a national initiative of the National Black Nurses Association, in response to the rising and unrelenting tide of victims and death in the country, especially related to gun violence, which has become a public health crisis.

Businesses and organizations are invited to sponsor the event. Proceeds will be used to support victims of gun violence, and programs that have positive, meaningful ad proactive solutions to reduce or end gun violence in the community.

Linda Washington-Brown is president of the Miami chapter. Call 305-754-2290 for more information.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.