Hoard is more than a statistic

Voyager columnist Reginald Stanton remembers his school days with Deonte Hoard, a teenager shot and killed in Chicago this month.

Writer Reginald Stanton remembers Deonte Hoard as a kind, accepting classmate.

While I was living on the south side of Chicago, I attended Urban Prep-Englewood, an all-boy school where 99 percent of the students were African-American.

I started in the middle of the year, so everyone had a clique, and it was difficult for me to make friends.

That first year was tough, but my sophomore year I met some new people, including Deonte Hoard.

He was a young athlete from South Deering, and he was loved by everyone. He never got angry with anyone and always told jokes when he saw one of his brothers was down.

He was also nice to me. He made me feel like I wasn’t a complete outcast. I give him credit: It’s really hard to be nice to the weird, new kid.

One day, during our English class, we were doing a skit on “Fences,” a play by August Wilson. Since it was an all-boy school, it was hard to find people to play the female roles. But Deonte stepped up and played the role and made everyone laugh by acting the roles out flamboyantly.

Sadly, on March 2, a week before his 18th birthday, Deonte was fatality shot while on his way to the store for his mother.

A black SUV pulled up beside Deonte and his friend and fired several shots. No has been arrested, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Many students of Urban Prep- Englewood were in shock. They felt like they had lost a brother.

I felt the same way.

Not only was he my friend, he was a good person and didn’t deserve what happened to him.

Most people that didn’t know Hoard probably see this story on the news and think that he was another gang banger who was lost in a violent city. But he wasn’t.

Deonte had been accepted to 12 colleges and was going to receive his Red and Gold tie, a symbol of college acceptance at Urban Prep.

He was a young man who had his goals in hand. But those goals were stolen from him.

To the public, Hoard is just another statistic. Another .1% in the murder rate of Chicago.  According to The Red Eye, there have been 62 homicides reported this year in Chicago

It’s time we stopped treating people dying like an everyday occurrence.  Putting faces on these statistics will show that the violence in Chicago is out of hand.

As a community, we need to give these teens the same media attention Mike Brown got. Every time an innocent person is killed, there should be people on the streets crying for the people that are caught in the crossfire.

These are our neighborhoods. If people do not speak up, they are basically saying they accept the violence. This needs to stop.

If we all spread our voice about the violence in Chicago, we can stop this, but everyone needs to voice his opinion.

Deonte deserves it.