[Photo: Raysean Abram's Facebook page]
Gang violence seemed to reach a fever pitch late last week when two Denver high schools, Manual and East, closed temporarily. There were fears a gang feud could break out. The same day, Friday, there were two funerals for victims of violence on the streets. One was held for 26-year-old Harry Morgan, a known member of the Bloods; the other for 13-year-old Reysean Abram. He was shot in the chest riding his bike home from a party in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood.
Denver police have arrested three people, two of them juveniles, in Abram’s murder. An investigation continues into why a 13 year-old was murdered. The Reverend Leon Kelly is an anti-gang crusader and a friend of the Abram family. He attended Friday’s funeral, and heard chilling words from Resean Abram's mother, Reyniko.
“She said, ‘You won this round. But you’re not going to win this war.' You know, the gangs won this round, but she’s not done fighting this war.”
Kelly runs Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives. He founded the group in 1986 and says it’s metro Denver’s longest-running anti-gang program. Kelly says younger and younger kids are getting involved. “I’m seeing kids as young as 8, 9, being influenced by this particular gang image,” he says.
Kelly also says young people are obsessed with social media and that sites like Facebook are contributing to street violence.
He spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.