IN US capital, teen honors victims of everyday gun violence.

The row of trendy restaurants surrounding an office of the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, reflects the refined taste of gentrifying capital.

But down an alley a mural depicts a very different drama playing out almost daily elsewhere in the same city.

There on the walls are the faces of five African-Americans teens shot dead, including Lauryn Renford's boyfriend, 16-year-old Zaire Kelly.

Renford, 17, was the driving force behind the mural, a recently inaugurated memorial to the slain youths.
''I think there's something very special about these five on the wall,'' says Renford who sees their stories as representing other victims too.

In a country where mass shootings dominate the headlines, the mural is a reminder of more common, everyday gun crime, the victims often African-Americans, their deaths too frequently overlooked except by grieving friends and family.

Kelly was attacked in an apparent robbery attempt on his way home from studies. Jamahri Sydnor, 17, was shot while driving, the victim of an 'unintended killing' according to DC Witness, a website that tracks Washington homicide cases.

Steve Slaughter, 14, and Taiyania Thompson, 16, are also pictured along with Paris Brown, 19. All were killed in 2017 and 2018.

Brown and Kelly, as well as Renford, were students at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Ward 8, one of two districts east of the Anacostia River where poverty is disproportionately clustered.

'' I realized that families and even just general residents of DC should have a place to grieve the people that we've lost and always honor their legacies, and work to preserve those that are left,'' Renford says.

Dozens of evenly-spaced red roses symbolize others lost to gun violence but whose youthful faces aren't pictured on the wall.
The could include Maurice Scott, 15, shot dead in Ma, or Steffan Brathwaite, 16, gunned down the day before AFP interviewed Renford.

They are among at least 131 homicide victims this year in the city of about 700,000 residents, up from 118 at the same time last year.
Nearby Baltimore, with a slightly smaller population, has recorded around 255 homicides in 2019.

'I hear gunshots' : In contrast 64 people have been gunned down nationwide since January in mass shootings where four or more people were killed, according to a Washington Post database.

The sadness of this research and publishing, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors at, Agencies.


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