Submitted by Marcus Robinson
May 14, 2015
Eight years ago, May 10 2007 in Chicago was a nice hot day. Percy Julian High School let out for the day. Students, Blair Holt and 4 of his friends were riding home on an eastbound # 103 bus. One of the 5 friends traveling together wouldn’t make it home. The other 4 and so many others would be scarred for life. To those of you who may have forgotten, or not familiar with this incident, Blair Holt was the son of Commander Ron Holt and Fire Captain Annette Holt.
Michael Pace, a known gang member, boarded the bus at 103rd and South Halsted Streets and started shooting. When the shooting stopped passengers/students were stumbling over each other to get off of the bus. Others got out of their cars to aid those startled and afraid, left on the bus was 16-year-old Blair lying near death. He later died at the hospital. He died saving the life of another classmate.
For eight years I have been acquainted with Ronald and Annette Holt. After keen observation I can conclude that Blair had a good set of Parents. Blair worked in his Grand Parents store Nance Foods, which once stood at 108th and South Wentworth Ave. Back in the 80’s that was my hang out when I visited my play cousins and it was where the first poem I wrote was displayed on a wall in the store, small world isn’t it?
Nance Foods looked out for many in the neighborhood. The store was black owned. It burned down a few years ago, and on that very lot another young man was killed. The block that once looked nice in the 80’s looks like it’s been nuked today.
On Monday, May 11, 2015, Ronald and Annette Holt attended a Peace Day celebration in their son’s honor as well as so many others who have lost their children to senseless gun and gang violence in the city. After the death of Blair Holt former Mayor Daley’s office and the CAPS program brought grieving parents together and out of this was the formation of ‘Purpose over Pain’ a group that provides support for parents experiencing this tragedy while also providing guidance to the community youth. I could see the sadness in their eyes every time I met with them and others of the group, I could sense the anger in their voice as they spoke although they tried to hide it. I am just a photojournalist and a God called preacher but I could feel the pain.
Tanya Burch lost her son Dante to this madness that continues to sweep the city. Dante was in my opinion a great Kid. In fact he grew up before his time. He was lost his life at a block party on 60th and Green right by Nicholson School, formally known as Bill School. Still, to this day the police have no one in custody for the murder of Dante.
Let’s not forget about another young man killed also around the same time Blair was murdered, Richard Chambers, who I knew personally. And another on Memorial Day of 2011, my young friend Stephen Hill was killed on 60th and King Drive, of mistaken identity. He was just 21 years old and was one of my male models at the time. Till this day the killers or killer haven’t been caught by police. Peace Day wasn’t just about Blair Holt but for so many left here to remember those innocent lives lost to senselessness in our city. This year has already laid claim to many murdered. When will it end?
Two students, a male and female, attending Percy Julian High School were awarded scholarships from the Blair Holt Foundation. There were many VIP’s at the Peace Day event.
If you would like to see more photos just visit my face book page https://www.facebook.com/marcuslat and there you will see photos of Stephen Hill and more from Peace Day at Julian.