CHICAGO --A Chicago native is giving back to the community where she grew up in an effort to stop the violence. Her gift to others comes from her own personal tragedy, the loss of her father 35 years ago to gun violence. Because of her efforts, she is making Chicago proud.
In the halls of South Shore High School, something good happened Tuesday to a young African American man with a dream - a few of them, actually.
"My dream is to be in the NFL, but educationally I want to be a big time person in the engineering industry," said DeShawn Thomas.
Tuesday, DeShawn got a real chance to make that happen with a scholarship check. The check, and the opportunity it affords him, came from what could have been an unlikely place.
Tenisha Taylor-Bell's father, Ezekiel, was shot and killed not far from the school 35 years ago. It's his memory that inspired this transaction, this change.
"This foundation is for young men, those are the people who took my father's life. How do I go after the very person who thought they didn't have an opportunity?" said Taylor-Bell said.
At 18, DeShawn has best friends and cousins who have been murdered.
"January 2016, I lost two of my best friends," he said.
Today isn't about ignoring that violence; it's about overcoming it.
"This is our future. This is who we should be investing in," Taylor-Bell said.
DeShawn is up for the challenge. ABC 7 Eyewitness News asked him if he was going to be something. His response was immediate, and confident: "Yes, ma'am."
For more information about the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation, visit eztaylor.org.