When 6-year-old Brittany King asked her family for $50 from her bank account to contribute to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's campaign to buy back guns, family members weren't surprised.
Brittany, a first-grader at St. William of York School in Southwest Baltimore, has been looking for ways to help get guns off the street for much of her young life. Her father, Ken King, was shot to death in his home in 1991, when Brittany was 8 months old, and the girl who dreams of being a lawyer and judge doesn't want other children to lose their parents to handguns.
When Brittany was watching the news over the weekend (she watches almost every night) and saw Schmoke explain that his campaign had run out of money, the girl asked her grandmother, Betty Brown, if she could withdraw $50 from the money she'd saved from birthdays and her allowance.
Tuesday morning Brittany's mother, Brigitti, returned from the bank with 50 $1 bills, but a second trip was necessary. Brittany informed her mother that she can now count in 10s, so her mother made another trip to the bank and returned with five $10 bills.
Yesterday, Brittany appeared with the mayor at a news conference and gave him a kiss before she went to school, where reporters and television cameras awaited her.
"I just kept thinking about my daddy, and I just thought it would be a good idea to give the mayor the money to make sure nobody gets killed," Brittany said while reading in the school library yesterday afternoon.
"I thought about my daddy a lot today, more than ever, more than any day."
Brigitti Brown, who held back tears of joy all afternoon, said Brittany asks about her father more frequently these days. She wants to know what he was like and why someone would kill him. Betty Brown said she can see the hurt in Brittany's eyes when she watches other children with their fathers at the playground.
"She's very compassionate and sensitive," Betty Brown said. "She sees other fathers pick up their children and lift them up in the air, and she has never known that. Sometimes I pick her up because I know what she's looking at.
"The hurt that she's nursing inside, we'll never know the depth of. It's not easy to watch her go through this."
Brittany has tried to help Schmoke before.
Once she wanted to make the mayor a videotape to help him improve the city. She routinely urges her mother and grandmother to recycle ("We promised her we'd start next month," Betty Brown said) and urges her classmates to refrain from making fun of others.
Brittany wants to be a lawyer and judge so she "can make a lot of money and give it to people who need it," and she wants to be a pink Power Ranger because it's just plain fun.
And her family wouldn't want it any other way.
"I'm very happy and proud of her today," Brigitti Brown said. "I know her father is proud looking down on her."
Pub Date: 2/07/97