A bell is rung after each name is read during a memorial service for the 12 Baltimore City Schools students killed this school year. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)
As she got dressed Wednesday morning, Pam Akintomide clasped a thin gold chain around her neck.
The necklace was a gift for Mother’s Day, the first one she’s had to endure since the death of her son. A charm depicts his name — Corey — in cursive, surrounded by tiny angel wings.
Corey Moseley was shot and killed in December, a week before the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School senior’s 18th birthday.
Akintomide stood among a crowd of school system leaders, local politicians and mourning families Wednesday to honor her son and the other Baltimore public school students who have been killed this academic year. As people paid their respects, the 41-year-old woman touched her fingers to the delicate chain.
This time, she read 12 — all of them shot to death.
Her speech Wednesday was more than a tribute to the lives lost. It was a call to action for the assembled leaders, a demand they not allow more children to die of gun violence before they cross the graduation stage or dance with their friends at prom.
“I pray for peace in which our children can thrive,” Santelises said. “But I know that peace is only possible with justice. Justice will not come until we all take responsibility as a society for the indifference, the intolerance and the inequity that make these abominations not only possible but often times feeling inevitable.”
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said it was hard for him to comprehend that the city has had to bury more students this year than last year.
“But we’re here today to reject that numbing feeling,” Young said. “We’re here today to proclaim that the young people who lost their lives so tragically will be remembered.”
A bell rang between Santelises’ recitation of each name: Cameron Anderson, 17. Markise Jackson, 19. Taylor Hayes, 7. Marcus Brown, 18. Montrell Mouzon, 14. Des’Mon Anderson, 18. Michael Handy, 17. Damian Claridy, 18. Corey Moseley, 17. Markell Hendricks, 16. Lamont Green, 17. Mekhi Anderson, 17.
Santelises said the community must take the time to pause and consider what was lost. The students who died, she said, aren’t just numbers — they had families, teachers, classmates. They had dreams and promise.
Corey dressed for Dunbar’s pep rallies, and had just welcomed a baby son.
I worry for her. I worrry for these children. I worry for my city.
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Montrell Mouzon adored the trombone, and took karate classes.
Some of the victims had attended alternative high schools at the time of their death; three alone had gone to Excel Academy.
Taylor Hayes was still in elementary school. She loved singing songs from the Disney movie “Frozen,” and her favorite color was purple.
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