That’s an old family photo of Mobarak Adam, shared by his sister after a rally and march in his memory this afternoon. He was photographed before entering Denny International Middle School, some of whose students joined today’s gathering along with hundreds of his schoolmates from Chief Sealth International HS, six days after Mobarak’s death at age 15 at Southwest Pool/Teen Life Center.
After the rally and march, his sister told reporters that the family has not heard anything from police about what they’ve learned regarding the circumstances of the gunfire that killed him.
Part of the uncertainty is complicated by the fact a camera in the center was not working. Seattle Parks confirmed that today when we asked: “There is a camera at SWTLC/Pool but unfortunately it was not working at the time. We are taking down that camera and working to get an operational camera up as soon as possible.” That’s one thing protesters asked for (last night’s announcement of the protest included others). But regardless of who was responsible for the gunfire that killed Mobarak Adam, the students who spoke decried the easy availability of guns.
They said action must be taken – from students speaking out if they see one of their peers with a gun, to leaders taking action to get guns off the street. “We’re concerned for our safety, our classmates, our neighbors,” said Mobarak’s sister. Speaking after her, City Councilmember Rob Saka promised to help, saying the death was “entirely tragic, unnecessary, and, I think, preventable”:
Another speaker urged the students to seek help for dealing with grief; when he asked for a show of hands by those who knew Mobarak, many went up, and then many went up again in a call for who wants to “end gun violence”:
That call was echoed by one of Mobarak’s brothers:
“No one deserves what happened to my brother – there has to be more regulation of these guns …people in charge, it’s their responsibility to protect us.” After tragedies, he said, “nothing is ever done … something has to be done eventually.”
Other speakers included Aneelah Afzali of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound and Chief Sealth principal Ray Morales.
“We stand with the family … we love you, we want to support you,” he said, leading the crowd in a moment of silence for Mobarak. Morales also noted that there are now memorials to two young shooting victims “within 100 feet of our school.” (The other is for Ka’Don Brown, 20, found shot to death last year on the southwest edge of the CSIHS campus.)
Then a family friend had a message for the students: “Nobody ever wins with a gun. If you want to win, sit around a table.” And a relative built on that message: “It starts with you. When you see somebody who is doing something they should not, when you see someone with a weapon,” speak up. “Our children should be able to thrive – this happens too many times.”
Shortly thereafter, the hundreds of participants marched up SW Thistle to the pool/center:
That’s where a memorial is in place near the entrance:
Nearby, after the rally ended, the sister shared her memories of a younger brother who made her laugh and was “always helpful,” with a good heart. But, she said, the protest was not just about him – but “about them” – the people whose families she hopes will never go through what just happened to hers.
-By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand, West Seattle Blog co-publishers