Daje has lost numerous friends and family members to gun violence—some related to drug and gang violence, others at the hands of police—and has survived gunshot wounds on two occasions. Unfortunately, her experiences are not unique. Gun related homicides are on the rise in many large American cities.
The New York Times reported a 33% rise in gun homicides in St. Louis in 2015, with the highest concentration of violence in Daje's and Antonio’s neighborhoods. Nationally, young people are also far more likely to be killed. According to a Los Angeles Times study, two children under the age of 18 are shot and killed in the United States every day. The deep personal impact on Daje is evident by the names of slain friends that cover her school notebook. Daje presents a unique perspective on these issues as the mother of a Black boy and a victim of gun violence.