City and public school officials gathered Thursday morning for the sixth annual Peace and Remembrance Day in honor of students who were killed during the school year.

On the steps of the Baltimore City Public Schools administration building, CEO Sonja Santelises read the names of 19 Baltimore City students who were killed from May 2022 to now, standing alongside Deputy Mayor Letitia Dzirasa and City Council President Nick Mosby.

“That’s 19 students, 17 young men and two young women, and one who I would even call, not really even within the range of manhood quite yet,” Santelises said.

The students ranged in age from 8 to 21.

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“These are not just 19 young lives lost. But these are 19 families who were shattered, and countless numbers of friends, classmates and teachers left devastated. At times like this words fail us,” Santelises said. “These young people individually represented potential, they represented different gifts and talents and personalities. They are not just numbers, but each name represents an individual with a God-given destiny.”

Kai Parker-Dorsey, a January graduate from Career Academy, rang a bell each time a name was called out and displayed on a white poster board.

Dylan King, 8 years old; Jaylen Richards, 12 years old; NyKayla Strawder, 15 years old; Laron Henderson, 15 years old; Izaiah Carter, 16 years old; Deanta Dorsey, 16 years old; Andres Moreno Jr., 16 years old; Jeremiah Brogden, 17 years old; Anquan Jackson, 17 years old; Neal Mack III, 17 years old ; Julian Foster III, 17 years old; Tre’Shaun Harmon, 17 years old; D’Asia Garrison, 17 years old; Marquis Stuckey, 18 years old; Dionte Williams, 18 years old; Jamal Martin, 18 years old; Donovan Flood-Mims, 19 years old; Breon Ennis, 20 years old; and Mason Kelly, 21 years old.

District staff hold up signs with the name of students who have passed from gun violence this year, and the years they would have graduated, during the Peace and Remembrance Day at Baltimore City Public Schools district office in Baltimore, Thursday, May 25, 2023. (Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

Dzirasa said the ceremony has to be done each year.

“Every year we must face these realities and say the names of these young people so that we never forget the lives and legacies and families that they left behind,” she said. Baltimore Polytechnic Institute’s concert band also performed songs as a tribute.

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Mosby said the City Council is committed to working with the school district, Baltimore Police, school police, the Department of Juvenile Services and the mayor’s office to ensure that they, as leaders, “collectively continue to come together” on this issue, he said.

“We are better than this. That’s why we have to have this event. And whether it’s one next year, zero next year, or even a higher number, it’s important for all of us to show up,” Mosby said. “This courtyard should be packed. It should be packed for one reason. And that’s to celebrate the lives of not just 19 as a number, but 19 lives that were taken from us in a very unproductive and senseless manner.”

Last year was a record year for children being shot in Baltimore, a disturbing trend The Banner has tracked since September. That year ended with 84 young shooting victims who were 17 or younger.

This year, 62 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 have been shot, according to a Banner analysis.

Michelle Hines, the mother of 16-year-old Izaiah Carter, who attended Patterson High School, was present to flip the sign to show her son’s name. She, too, felt the courtyard should have been packed.

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“If we’re really outraged and really want to get people involved, give us the opportunity to do that. And we need to find a resolution,” Hines said.

When asked what good came out of the event, she said, “People saw that there were 19 children shot this year” in real-time.

penelope.blackwell@thebaltimorebanner.com

Penelope Blackwell is a Breaking News reporter with The Banner. Previously, she covered local government in Durham, NC, for The News & Observer. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Morgan State University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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