Sandra Parks
Credit: Hillary Mintz /

On Monday, November 19th, a bullet was fired into a Milwaukee home and struck 13-year-old Sandra Parks—who was quietly watching TV in her bedroom. She died on the scene. “She took it like a soldier,” her sister, Tatiana Ingram, told reporters. “She just walked in the room and said, ‘Mama, I’m shot’ […] The bullet wasn’t even for her.”

Sandra, who was an eighth grader at Keefe Avenue School, had written an award-winning essay about gun violence when she was only in sixth grade. “Sometimes I sit back and I have to escape from what I see and hear every day,” she wrote. “I put my headphones on and let the music take me away. I move to the beat and try to think about life and what everything means. And when I do, I come to the same conclusion…we are in a state of chaos.”

During a 2017 appearance on Wisconsin Public Radio, Sandra had said, “All you hear about is somebody dying or somebody getting shot and people do not just think about whose father or son or granddaughter or grandson who it was that was just killed.”

In a statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sandra’s mother, Bernice Parks, said that Sandra “was everything this world is not. […] My baby was not violent. My baby did not like violence. Everybody she knew, everybody that came past, she made them happy. She didn’t like for nobody to be sad or down. She was my angel from the time she was in my womb.”

Authorities don’t yet know if the Parks house had been specifically targeted or if it was a random act of violence, but two men were arrested on Wednesday, November 21st, in relation to the shooting.

Our thoughts are with Sandra’s family and loved ones today, and for all of the innocent victims of senseless gun violence. If you’re feeling hopeless today, know that there are concrete actions you can take to support gun reform in this country. See here for a list of things you can do.