08/12/2011 01:29 pm ET | Updated Oct 12, 2011

The Trauma Of Violence And Our Broken Communities

Fifteen years ago, I was on vacation with my family in upstate New York, when late one night I got a phone call from a homicide detective I knew from the West Side. She was calling from my house. Pharoah Rivers, one of the boys I wrote about in There Are No Children Here, was staying with us, and earlier that evening he'd taken a cab from our home in Oak Park to his mom's home on the West Side. The detective told me that when the cab pulled up in the city, two men approached the car. One of them yanked Pharoah out, and they then both rushed into the backseat. As they tried to rob the cab driver, something went amiss, and they shot and killed him. The detective wanted us to know that Pharoah was okay, that he was back at our house, in shock.

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