PHILADELPHIA - The coronavirus isn’t the only epidemic in Philadelphia. Gun violence is a serious problem and now the mother of a teen, just two months away from graduating, is left mourning her son and trying to find a safe place to live with her six other children.
Her community is trying to help.
"My name is Wahkil Hunter," the Zoom video recorded in January of a high school presentation given by 18-year-old Wahkil. "My supporters are my mom and my older sister."
Sadly, his advisor at Vaux Big Picture High School, in North Philadelphia, using parts of the presentation to create a memorial video to the young man. Wahkil was gunned down and killed April 6th, in the 800 block of West Luzerne Street.
"He was the smiliest, most loving kid," Vaux Big Picture High School teacher Vivian Shaw remarked.
Never in a million years did Shaw expect Wahkil to lose his life to gun violence.
"I worry about a lot of boys, but he was not ever one of them," Shaw said.
The physics teacher said Wahkil had a good moral compass. The teen planned to go to trade school to be an electrician. Shaw sees Wahkil’s death as part of a disturbing narrative in Philadelphia.
"We have so sickenly normalized Black boys dying. We have to remember these are children who have dreams, themselves," Shaw stated.
Shaw started a Go Fund Me to raise money for Wahkil’s mom, who works seven days a week and is trying to find a safe place to raise her family. Wahkil was one of seven.
"He has five younger siblings that don’t need to grow up in a neighborhood that took their brother and is, just frankly, dangerous,"
Wahkil’s story touching a chord with many in the community. Jessica Rights is the Co-Founder of the non-profit Mount Airy Groceries, which helps families with food insecurity. She’s on a mission to find the family a new home.
"I’ve cast a wide net. I’m working with other non-profits. I’ve reached out to private landlords. I’ve reached out to private citizens. What this family needs – they need to rest," Rights explained.
"He was always such a good kid, doing the right thing. More than just another statistic, Wahkil had incredible dreams for his future," Shaw added.
Those who wish to help Wahkil's family, financially, can do so by donating at the GoFundMe site.
Tips can be submitted by calling 215-686-TIPS (8477) or texting PPD TIP (773847). Tips can also be submitted anonymously online, here. All tips are confidential.
Click here to find resources for victims of violence in Philadelphia.
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