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Latest Chicago shooting victim is my cousin

Yesterday, Feb. 18, 2013, I published a piece here describing the two latest shooting murders in Chicago. I had read the news stories and watched a couple of reports on local television about those killings. One was of an 18-year-old senior at Roberto Clemente High School, Frances Colon. At the time of my report, more was known about Frances’ murder, I guess, because it had occurred earlier than the second one.

The second shooting death involved the murder of another 18-year-old student, Janay McFarlane. She was not actually killed in Chicago, but in an adjacent suburb called North Chicago. For most of the city (and the world), the thing that stood out most about Janay’s killing is that her sister Destini had participated that same day in the gathering at Hyde Park Academy where President Barack Obama spoke about the killing of Hadiya Pendleton. In fact, Destini stood less than 10 feet behind Obama as he spoke. And that is the approach I took in my report as well.

The reports I read referred to her mother as Angela Blakely. I looked at that name, but it did not register. I have a cousin named “Angie” Blakely who is 43 and lives not far from me on the South Side of Chicago.

An aunt called me last night and informed me that, yes, the Angela Blakely referred to in the reports was, in fact, our “Angie” and that Janay, the murdered child, was her child.

Since then, there have been several more news reports about this incident. I could not find any videos on YouTube, otherwise I would have posted them with this report. The Chicago Tribune does have video of my cousin and more details about the murder.

Needless to say, our whole family is grief-stricken, heartbroken and angry at this latest turn of events in this crazy city.

Although I was not born or raised here, I have always loved Chicago. I have had family members here for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until 1976 that I moved here permanently. Since then, I have witnessed this city go through many different transformations – usually for the “good.” And some, well…not so good. But for as long as I’ve been here, I have never seen anything like this.

For the first time in my life, I am seriously considering leaving my beloved Chicago – for good.

Peace and power to all.