Austin Community Remembers 13-Year-Old Amaria Jones, Calls For Gang Members To 'Stop Killing Our Babies'

Steve Miller
July 03, 2020 - 4:51 pm
CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It was West Side Pastor Ira Acree who eulogized 13-year-old Amaria Jones.
 
His theme: Her life mattered. 
 
Family, friends, classmates and community leaders came to the Great St. John Bible Church in Austin to say goodbye to Amaria, who was fatally shot in the neck by a stray bullet on Father’s Day weekend two weeks ago as she danced for her mother near a front window in their West Side home.
 
The funeral service, which was streamed live on Facebook, was decked out in a dark purple, the teenager's favorite color. Some attendees wore purple shirts and masks, while others had purple in their hair. After speeches and remarks were shared, people filed by the purple open casket for a final look at Amaria, before giving her family members a hug, who sat in the front row.
 
 
One of those who spoke was Dr. Sabrina Jones of John Hay Community Academy, where Amaria had just finished the seventh grade.
 
“She was just a joy to be around. I just hate that we’re here. I just hate that we’re here," Sabrina Jones said. And I just pray for the family.
 
“And I just want everybody to know — and I hope this goes viral, I want y’all to hashtag this — Black lives will never matter until Black lives matter to Black people.”
 
Pastor Acree said the blame is not on Jones but on those who shot her.
 
“People are quick to say she was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Acree. “‘Why was she standing in the window?’ Because she was at home. That’s why. ‘Why was she dancing in the window?  You know it’s dangerous out here.’  She was at home with her family.”
 
Amaria’s family spoke lovingly about her. Through tears, a sister said she wished she’d spent more time with Amaria.
 
A cousin remembered how much she loved bubblegum. They called her by her nickname, “Yay-yay.”--
 
Cynthia Williams, president of the Austin Peoples Action Center, spoke passionately at the funeral and had a strong message for neighborhood gang members. 
 
"I don't care if you are in a gang, just do the right thing," Williams said. "Aim right. Aim at the right person. Stop killing our babies, stop killing our Black people — stop killing, period."
 
At least seven children were fatally shot in the last two weeks in Chicago, including a 1-year-old and 3-year-old.

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