It was just a few days before Thanksgiving, when an 8th grader was shot and killed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Sandra Parks was sitting in her room watching TV, when a stray bullet came through the window.
“She said, ‘Mama, call the police. I been shot,’” Sandra’s mother, Bernice Parks, describes of that night. “She was laying on the floor. I thought she was playing, but I called the police anyway because I’m like that’s too many gunshots, what the hell is going on?”
The 13-year-old’s award-winning essay is now being shared around the world and read on national news outlets. In the young girl’s essay, “Our Truth,” Sandra wrote about gun violence.
Sandra’s words are now some of the only things her mom says she has left of her daughter.
“I don’t have her flesh. I don’t have her smiling at me all the time. I don’t have what I want, and I want my baby,” Bernice says. “Ain’t nothing gonna make that better. It’s just that being in this house, since she been gone, it’s strange, scary, and it’s unacceptable.”
Bernice says her daughter’s words are giving her strength as she prepares for the funeral. The mother hopes Sandra’s essay might prevent another family from going through the same pain.
“The stuff that she wrote, people should listen to it. Heed to it. Follow it, because it’s only right that kids should live. Adults should live,” she says. “I don’t think nobody should die, not by the hands of body else for no apparent reason. She didn’t do nothing.”
Police have arrested two suspects they believe were connected to the shooting.
A public visitation for Sandra will be held Friday.