Steven K. Latimer
On October 2, 2011, I was awakened at 3:00 a.m. by frantic ringing of my doorbell. My first thought was Steven must be at the door and something was wrong, but when I saw my friend standing there, I knew something had happened to Steven. She told me I needed to get to the emergency room; there had been a shooting - her son and Steven, along with two young ladies. They all had been shot, but she had no additional information on Steven's condition. I rushed to the hospital where I was told Steven had been shot and died as a result of his injuries. Words no parent should ever hear.
Steven was killed at the age of 23, two days before his 24th birthday. Steven was a bright young man with a great heart and an illuminating smile. His smile could light up a room. Steven attended Hope High School as well as Exeter Job Corps, an education and career technical training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people, ages 16 through 24, improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training. Steven was enrolled in the Construction Technology program and successfully obtained a certificate in Carpentry. Steven was employed by Bannister Health & Rehabilitation Center in Providence until his untimely death.
Steven, like most young men, liked to play basketball and video games. He enjoyed music, and loved to draw. He was very charismatic and a good communicator. Steven enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, but he loved spending time with his 5 year old daughter, Nevaeh, most of all. Steven was a good person, never one to look for or start trouble. His life was taken by a SENSELESS act of violence! Not only did I lose a son, but this tragedy left Nevaeh without a father.
During the last two years of his life, Steven had begun to mature and grow and recognize the importance of a good education. In early 2011, he began working on his financial aid application so he could enroll in the nursing program at the Community College of Rhode Island. Recently, when going through some of his belongings, I came across two items. The first a poem he had written entitled "Life" and the second, a "List of Goals". Both items reflected his intentions to better the future for himself and Nevaeh by furthering his education. This made me smile and broke my heart at the same time because the opportunity for him to attain his goals had been stolen from him forever. I recall the last time I saw him and Nevaeh together, they were having a conversation, and Steven was expressing the importance of her education.
In honor of my son, as well as the many other sons and daughters who have lost their lives due to an act of violence, I established the Steven K. Latimer Memorial Foundation. This Foundation will provide educational scholarships to Rhode Island children who have lost a parent, guardian or loved one due to an act of violence.
Our first annual fundraising event, the Steven K. Latimer Memorial 5K – Families Against Violence Run/Walk, was held on Saturday, September 29, 2012, at Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island. At that time, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare, Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements, and The Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence, Executive Director Teny Gross joined me as Honorary Co-Chairs of this fundraising event. We wish to bring awareness to the violence in the State of Rhode Island and promote the practice of non-violence. The proceeds from this event funds the Steven K. Latimer Memorial Foundation which will enable us to provide scholarships to our youth as well as financial support in areas that are critical to the education, health and positive growth of our youth.
Until one is affected by a violent act, we act like it doesn't exist or that it can't happen to us. A random act of violence could happen to ANYONE. The violence isn't just an inner city or South Providence issue, it is happening all over our State. We all deserve to live our lives without fear, so STAND UP and SPEAK OUT! We all bring something UNIQUE to the table, so STEP UP and join us in making a difference.
We want our children to know that violence is NOT the answer, to understand and value the importance of a good education, and to always choose peace in their long-term solution to violence. If my standing up and speaking out makes a difference in just one child's life, then Steven's death will not be in vain.
Knowledge is power and by providing the means for a child to have the opportunity for an education they may not have otherwise been afforded, fills my heart with great joy. I am sure Steven is looking down on us from above with that big smile of his applauding our efforts to create a brighter future for a child.
Please feel free to contact me personally to discuss how you could help change a child's life by supporting the Steven K Latimer Memorial Foundation.
Myra Latimer-Nicholas, Founder
Steven K. Latimer Memorial Foundation