13-year-old who wrote essay about gun violence is shot dead

Milwaukee, WI. (WTMJ) — A young girl penned a winning essay about gun violence in Milwaukee, two years before she was killed by a bullet in her own home.

That girl was 13-year-old Sandra Parks, an eighth-grade student. She was was in her bedroom Thursday night near 13th and Hopkins when someone shot into her house, killing her.

In an essay she wrote two years before her death, she talked about hoping to see an end to violence in her neighborhood.

“We shall overcome has been lost in lies of who we are. Who we have become,” wrote Parks an essay. “We need to rewrite our story so that faith and hope for a better tomorrow is not only within us. But we believe it and we put it into action.”

The words of then-11-year-old Parks as she reads her essay on Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.

“Our first truth is that we must start caring about each other,” said Parks in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio in 2017.

A message her friends and family want to continue. They came together Friday night to remember the young girl with dreams of changing the world. A world she told said had too much death.

“In my own words it would be really violent because the world that we have become now is like is all you hear about is somebody dying. Somebody getting shot. And people do not think about who’s father or son or granddaughter or grandson that was that you just killed,” said Parks in the interview.

“Do you look forward to doing big things in your lives?” asked host Kathleen Dunn.

“When I like take over I would like to like stop all the violence and negative, negativity that is going on,” answered Parks.

Now her mother needs the community to take up that cause for her.

“She was a star that was trying to get out by didn’t know how,” said Bernice Parks. “Don’t never forget my baby.”