In the car on Thursday afternoon, I heard a National Public Radio story out of Chicago’s WBEZ that was fascinating.
Camiella Williams, an anti-gun activist, who grew up on Chicago’s South Side where she was a gang member, but now lives in Chicago Heights, explained why she now carried a concealed handgun.
In the story, which you can read here, she tells of her motivation to participate actively in what some call the “gun reform movement.”
Then a 21-year old cousin was shot to death.
Even though young people she had mentored had been previously shot, a classmate had been killed, then a daughter of a woman her mother grew up with, her cousin’s death affected her the most.
The rest of the story tells of her getting a concealed carry permit.
When her eleven-year old son got shot with a BB gun in her driveway, she considered “doing something she counsels others against.”
But, reflecting on the example that would set for her son, she walked away.
The story did not tell what town Williams lives in or on what community college board she serves, but I looked it up.
There was no photo on the Prairie State Community College website.
There was, however, the following mini-biography:
“A resident of Chicago Heights, Camiella D. Williams is a student support staff member at an alternative school in Chicago Heights.
“Ms. Williams is a former student of Prairie State College, where she was a member of the Student Government Association, Political Science Club and Black Student Union. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Governors State University, where she currently is pursuing a master’s degree in political and justice studies. Ms. Williams serves as the executive director for singer/actress Drew Sidora’s Dreamakers Charity, board member of the Blair Holt Memorial Foundation, and national organizer for Future4Future Network. She also has worked extensively in the Chicagoland area to prevent gun violence since 2006, and currently serves as violence prevention task force member for Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly.”
The end of the radio story says,
“Williams is 29 now. She’s raising her son in a relatively safe suburb. She’s closing in on her master’s degree.
“She’s still a trustee at that community college.
“If she’s OK with carrying a gun, think about the people back in her old neighborhood who have to worry about violence up close every day.” [Emphasis added.]
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Additional stories in the WBEZ series–“Every Other Hour”–can be found here.