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Rashad Al-Hakim Jr. died too soon in Fresno. Here’s how to honor his young life (Photo by Eric Paul Zamora, Fresno Bee)

Rashad Al-Hakim Jr. Died Too Soon in Fresno. Here’s How to Honor His Young Life

By D’Aungillique Jackson—Feb. 17, 2023

Oftentimes, when a person is tragically killed, an unfortunate phenomenon occurs. Their life becomes defined by that fatal moment. While I cannot stress enough how important it is to bring awareness to, and critically engage with, the facts of the crimes committed against them, I am writing this letter to our Fresno community with an important call to action.

In the midst of our calls for justice and due process, we must remember the loved ones taken from us, not defined by their last moments or by their killers, but by their unique ethos of creative energy.

I believe that this is especially true for Rashad Al-Hakim Jr., a loving son, an exemplary big brother, an amazing athlete and a dedicated student whose life was horrifically taken from him on Oct. 10.

Rashad was born on Aug. 24, 2007 to high school partners Ragina Bell and Rashad Al-Hakim. Growing up, the younger Rashad’s passion and dream was to follow in his father’s footsteps and play basketball. As soon as he could walk, young Rashad could usually be seen with a basketball in his hands.

Not only did Rashad have this strong dedication to the sport, his mother also instilled in him the value of education. Even though he struggled with a speech impediment as a young child, he tirelessly applied himself in school to ensure that he overcame this barrier.

Within my capacity as a community organizer, I have worked with Ragina and spoken with Rashad’s classmates to identify ways through which Fresno can keep the legacy and memory of this young boy alive.

Read more at the Fresno Bee.

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