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November 7th is a special date in my family. It’s the day my grandson was born.

November 7th is a special date in my family. It’s the day my grandson was born.

November 7th is a particular date in my household. It’s the day my grandson was born. We ought to be celebrating him. One of the best I can do is pay tribute.

The day after hip hop artist Takeoff of the Grammy award-winning group Migos was shot and killed at a Houston bowling alley, a YouTube video went viral exhibiting Deion Sanders, the NFL Corridor of Famer and coach of Jackson State College’s soccer workforce, telling his gamers in Houston for a recreation: “Y’all ain’t leaving the resort till additional discover.”

I don’t blame him for reacting that manner. Takeoff, whose start title was Kirshnick Khari Ball, was reportedly the unintended sufferer of gunfire that erupted at a non-public gathering following an altercation over a cube recreation. He was 28 years previous. Sanders went on to warn the gamers to thoughtfully contemplate who’s round them and the conditions they put themselves in.

“People who find themselves influential are leaving us constantly,” Sanders continued. “You can’t kick it with the identical dudes . . . They will discuss you, ridicule you, clown you, however you’re going to should disconnect. So, get that in your spirit.”

I perceive coach Sanders wanting to maintain these younger males near be on the protected facet. Proximity to people who don’t worth life, who would fireplace a weapon over a minor falling out, can have lethal penalties, significantly for Black males and boys. Tragically, my grandson, Joseph London Smith, turned certainly one of them. He wasn’t kicking it with some dangerous dudes on the evening of August 13, however a bullet that wasn’t meant for him discovered him anyway.

Joseph was a photographer and produced brief movies and music movies by way of his J. Smith Movies Firm. He was scouting areas to movie a music video that evening and checked out a membership in northwest Atlanta. He had arrived again at his automobile when pictures rang out. In keeping with Atlanta police, there was a spat exterior the membership over a parking area. Joseph, whom most individuals referred to as JoJo, had no half in it. However due to rising gun violence, Joseph, a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, a cousin and a buddy, died on the scene. Two different folks have been shot. A suspected confederate is in custody, however the shooter remains to be at massive.

As a result of it stays an open murder investigation that’s all I can say about it.

November seventh was Joseph’s birthday; he would have turned 31. That day, his mom Shenna and his siblings and associates in Minneapolis celebrated Joseph’s life with a prayer, a balloon launch and a dinner in his honor. My son, Joseph’s father, Josibiah (“Jay”), and different members of the family celebrated him in Arizona. They refused to permit the shooter to deprive us of honoring the gorgeous soul who graced this earth for 30 years

We must always have heard Joseph utter the parting three phrases he all the time mentioned whether or not we have been speaking on the telephone or in individual, “I really like you.” As a substitute, my household has joined numerous others grieving a beloved one misplaced to gun violence, huddled in ache and asking, “When will this mindless killing finish?”

It has taken a while for me to have the ability to share this heartbreaking grief. Remembering Joseph on his birthday hasn’t made it any simpler. However I would like folks to know who he was and that he beloved deeply and was deeply beloved and cherished by his household.

JoJo was born smiling. Josibiah and JoJo’s mom, Shenna, welcomed him into the world in November of 1991, in Chicago. Joseph was the youthful sibling of Essie, Alexis and Francois, and the older brother of Shaude. Though Joseph was loads cool, he would inform anyone that his mom was certainly one of his finest associates. She all the time inspired him, and so they had an important relationship. Their final journey collectively was to Myrtle, Seashore, South Carolina. She mentioned it was certainly one of their finest as a result of they have been each completely relaxed and he felt his future was brilliant.

JoJo possessed an easy-going attraction that made interacting with others easy. He mentioned that could be a trait he inherited from his father. Joseph had a smile that might soften your coronary heart. He checked out life as an journey to get pleasure from and he mentioned he felt personally answerable for contributing to that enjoyment. At his funeral, speaker after speaker opined that in case you have been round JoJo lengthy sufficient, you have been assured to have a lot of laughs. He introduced that perspective to his images enterprise and maybe it was this angle that made his images of households specifically, seem so joyous. As one speaker mentioned, “JoJo simply knew the best way to make folks really feel uplifted.”