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Anti-Violence Advocate Stymied After His Grandbaby Lost to Gunfire

After losing his granddaughter, Aniya, two years ago, Minneapolis advocate K.G. Wilson feels isolated and unable to serve in the anti-violence outreach work to which he was so pivotal for so long, reports The Trace, in an in-depth story published in partnership with the Sahan Journal. For years, to honor the children who were killed by gunfire in North Minneapolis, Wilson has sent up prayers, held vigils, tied up teddy bears; organized “heavenly birthday” parties and “angel-versaries” to commemorate the shooting victims. He released balloons, tended to memorials, and cleared debris. "I had so much love. I was willing to give my life daily in Minneapolis, for total strangers. I stood up to the murderers and the killers, and I called them out and told them they were wrong. I was there,” Wilson said. “And I feel like all I got in return was a murdered 6-year-old, innocent grandchild. That’s what I feel like the city of Minneapolis gave me."

Wilson is hurt. More than two years — nearly 1,000 days — have passed, and no one has been held accountable for Aniya’s killing. Whoever killed her was a member of his community, and the community doesn't want to give them up, Wilson said. “Every block knows who’s the shooter. They know,” he said. “They’ve been knowing for years. Some of these people out here been shooting people’s kids for years. They know who they are and they refuse to turn in their own family.” Yet he is drawn back to his work. He hears his granddaughter talking to him. “Truth is, I’d rather be dead than live without justice for Aniya Allen,” he said, as if to himself. “I mean this.”


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