Beginning to write this piece was one of the hardest and confusing things I’ve had to do. No one should ever have to write a tribute to a friend that they lost through senseless gun violence.
On August 27th, 2018 Jason Solomon was shot and killed in downtown, Windsor. The news broke the hearts of his family members, his friends and his peers from his community in Brampton and at the University of Windsor.
I remember when I met Jason during his first year. He was kind, full of life and love, and committed to doing well in school. When he joined the club CAOS, Caribbean and African Organization of Students, he was already paving his way to being president by the time he was in his fourth year. He was close to that goal as he was one of the Academic Advisors in the 2017-18 year
In October of 2017, I was walking around the Leddy Library to find people to interview about their motivation behind achieving success in school. It was a relief when I saw Jason because it meant not having to approach a stranger and asking them if I can interview them. As soon as I told Jason about the topic, he was happy to be interviewed, especially because I was going to take pictures of him. Jason was never shy in front of a camera. The many videos and photos that have been surfacing all over social media from close friends and family show that.
Everyone has their flaws and so did Jason. He wasn’t an angel that did well all the time, but what made him who he was. He was trying to break the stereotypes around being a black boy from a high priority neighbourhood. He tried, and to me, that’s what counts. When UWSA renamed their Rise Above scholarship (a scholarship given to a deserving racialize student) after Jason, it made me feel like his efforts in school were recognized and not lost like so many other students of colour.
When I attended his vigil in Toronto on September 1st, many of the adults who spoke asked the youth who came to take Jason’s death as a message and a wake-up call. They asked us to stay on a path that would lead up to accomplishing our dreams. They asked us to keep in touch with friends and family because you never know when their last day on Earth may be. The amount of love I have seen from everyone for Jason is so beautiful, that it makes me think how often we show the same amount of love to the people in our lives who are alive.
Jason is gone but he will not be forgotten. Rest in Power.
Friend to Jason and a member of CAOS with Jason
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