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Justice for Jeremiah Matters… By Mae Catherine Godhigh

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” – Ben Franklin

Nothing pales to the tragic event that rocked the City of Peoria on May 13, 2019.

An innocent Jeremiah L. Ward’s life was abruptly ended in a hail of bullets. He was only four years old. Jeremiah was gunned down while doing what a child should be able to do; simply enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.

The meaning of Jeremiah’s name is: “May Jehovah exalt or Exalted of the Lord. Just let that simmer for a minute. His name means greatness!

Visualize this, Jeremiah will never witness another sunrise or sunset. He will never experience his first day of Kindergarten. The magical night of his senior prom and college dreams evaporated in that moment. Jeremiah will never know the joy of a tender bride, fatherhood and the fulfillment of his destiny.

What happens next is even more perplexing. The village where Jeremiah lived has gone dark with a deafening silence.

Village Drums

I was a 16 year old teenager; hanging out at George Washington Carver Center. My cousin had a pack of cigarettes. She lit one and passed it to me. As I was taking my first puff, a church lady drove by and saw me. In that a moment, I knew my butt was toast! Sure enough, the news beat me home. When I got home my mother was waiting for me. She asked me, so you smoking now? I don’t even remember answering her question; only the rapid onset of sudden darkness. For years I loathed that nosy church lady. Later, l realized this was the code of the village. The village where I grew up looked out for its children. Guess what? I grew to appreciate the church lady’s courage and the importance of those village drums.

As this article goes to press, endless appeals from community leaders and law enforcement continue to fall upon muted ears. I have long believed that a “slave mentality” is not limited to race or community.

I am through entertaining the notion that community law-enforcement is our sole be all and end all. I will not embrace the remote possibility of this child becoming Peoria’s next cold case. The answer lies within our moral consciousness and the responsibility to a do the right thing.

Question is: How much do we really love and value our children in the City of Peoria? Is our commitment to the code of the streets greater than justice for Jeremiah?

Dear Shooter,

Whether your actions were accidental or not; only God knows. There is still time left for you to turn yourself in. Don’t let the sun go down again on Jeremiah. He deserves justice and you deserve a pathway to clear your conscious. – The Village

As the name of Jeremiah L. Ward fades from the top stories of our news feed, we as a people should never cease to mention him and his family in our prayers, in public places and even in our pulpits. This is our final wakeup call. Peoria this is our “Never Again” moment. Someone knows something. Could it be you?

Justice for Jeremiah matters…