Lazarus Jones (R.I.P1993-2007) " June 6,1993 Eight pounds, 1 ounce. ST. Mary's Hospital. 5:59 a.m. Hairy as a bear." His father named him Lazarus, a biblical figure who, according to the New Testament, died and was resurrected by Jesus. Lazarus was my second child. I've always said he had my eyes, and hair and my heart. Lazarus was small, but his dad called him "muscle man." Lazarus liked Matchbox cars and vanilla ice cream, smooth jazz and summer days at the pool. Lazarus loved to eat Hot Pockets. By the time Lazarus reached 8th grade at Budlong Elementary School, his hair was long and braided. Lazarus did well in school. Teachers praised him, and he was excited about high school. In a journal for a class, he wrote: "I'm going to have a good life. And if anyone doubts me, I don't care for them." Sometime after 8p.m. on Feb. 19, 2007, Lazarus was walking home from a friend's house. That night he was with a few friends, walking east on Lawrence Avenue, the night lit by neon storefront signs and the headlights of passing cars. It was almost 40 degrees, but the sidewalk was icy. On Lawrence and North Troy Street, several men jumped from a van. Police believe the men were gang members who thought Lazarus and his friends were in a rival gang. Teachers, friends and family members say that Lazarus steered clear of trouble, and the police have found nothing to indicate Lazarus had any gang involvement.
The police arrived at my door and took me to the hospital. They wheeled me into the room where my Lazarus lay dying.. A machine beeped each time my son Lazarus heart beat. I told the doctors to keep it turned on. I wanted to hear my son heart beep, even as the beats began to fade. I massaged my son Lazarus foot. It was so cold, and i couldn't make it warm. Lazarus was brutally beaten to death on the north- side of Chicago on 02-20-07 at the age of thirteen. In one night his dreams were taken from him. Lazarus attended Budlong Elementary School I am now the voice of Lazarus, speaking to save all children from violence. My hearts desire is to stop the violence in order to prevent other parents from experiencing the pain of burying their children. I have traded my quiet nature in, for public activism, rather than suffer beneath the rubble of my grief. In the name of Lazarus I dedicated my time and efforts into creating projects Emotions Through Artwork, Mannequin Visual Thinking and Blind The Darkeness Of Violence With Light.
In loosing my son Lazarus Jones at the age of thirteen to violence on February 19, 2007, my life took a turn. My vision and purpose is now primarily on the safety of all children. I was pregnant with my third son Israel Rome Bass when this tragedy struck me. I chose to use my pain as a source of strength and a voice against violence in honor of my son Lazarus. I began to Post flyers all over the city streets, stick my head in shop doorways and simply ask questions to try to get closer to the answer to âll who murdered my son? I struggled to keep my emotions in check and to look people in the eye. In my soul I knew I could not break down. I said to God, please give me the strength and I had it .Looking for answer on how this could have happened, I marched against violence, choking back tears long enough to become a voice for my son. It has been painful, stressful, I experienced a tremendous amount of anger, and I almost lost my faith in God. I told myself, I am a mother and this is what I have to do. The death of my son took a hunger and love from the pit of my soul that inspired me to be an activist for the safety of all children.
On March 29, 2007, just five weeks after Lazarus died, I found myself in the auditorium of the University of Illinois in Chicago, at a summit held by the Ceasefire organization. The summit was on the widespread impact of gang violence. First Lady Laura Bush was seated near the stage. I squirmed in my seat, wishing I could run back to my apartment to obtain some of my son's writings so I could share them, and then I realized I was in this place for a purpose. I spoke into the microphone and stated my purpose of being there in honor of Lazarus, I've share all I had actively done, and all I was determined to do. I then attended and held many different events against violence. On April 23, 2007 while attending a prayer visual for another child, who was shot to death on the north Westside of Chicago, my water broke. After this I spent five weeks in Evanston Hospital. My son Israel was not due until July, but I had him on May 27, 2007. he was six weeks early. I thanked God for him on that day and everyday to come. I held a safety back to school march in May of 2009 at the school Lazarus attended, Budlong School at 2701 W. Foster ave. We marched from the school to Daman avenue then back. On Sep 26, 2009 I spoke as an advocate against violence in the community at Act Now Youth Organization kick off celebration. On Oct 17, 2009 I held a Prayer Vigilant to stop the violence at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Chicago Illinois. I plan to continue being an activist in the community against violence.