Girl, 13, killed by stray bullet after writing essay on stopping gun violence

Sandra Parks (Photo courtesy of Bernice Parks)

Sandra Parks, 13, made headlines in her hometown of Milwaukee after writing a powerful essay to speak against gun violence. Two years after writing that award-winning essay commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Parks fell victim to the same violence that inspired her words.

On Nov. 19, 2018, Parks, an eighth-grader at Keefe Avenue School, was sitting in her room on North 13th Street when she was struck in the chest by a stray bullet that entered her room after shattering a window, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Parks ran to her mother and told her that she was shot. She eventually died from the gunshot wound.

Following Park’s death, two men have been arrested but have yet to be charged in her death.

Parks’ essay, “Our Truth,” won third-place honors at an annual citywide celebration in 2016.

“We are in a state of chaos,” Parks wrote in the essay. “In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost every day. Little children are victims of senseless gun violence. Many people have lost faith in America and its ability to be a living example of Dr. King’s dream!”

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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