On the evening of August 12, 2014, Councilman Jimmie L. Williams, III residents and other community leaders congregated on the grounds of Blakey Park to observe the untimely passing of Darrin Booker, a young boy who became the latest victim of gun violence when he was killed in Florida City on August 3. The August 12 event was intended only to be a backpack giveaway by the South West Advisory Committee for students heading back to school, but the unfortunate incident that has taken yet another young person from their family and friends so shook the community that it could not be ignored.
“We are all gathered here today as a sobering reminder that the destructive cycle of violence, particularly that which involves guns, is threatening to take the lives of an entire generation that would otherwise have a promising future,” said Councilman Williams as he was flanked by the victim’s family members cast in the glow of candlelight. “Today was supposed to be a joyous occasion as we prepare our young people to take on the challenges of another school year. We can still take away something positive from this in the face of all this grief if we remember to treat all human life as sacred and respect one another despite our differences.”
The evening was punctuated by some inspiring words from local pastors, Darrin Booker’s grandmother, Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough and Major Scott Kennedy. The occasion, however, was also marked with a brighter hope for the future that featured an inspired musical performance and a rousing dance number by a local dance troupe that even inspired the onlookers to take to the stage and join in.