The first time one of Camiella Williams’ friends was shot come death, she was 15. Then one more friend was gunned down. And also another.

Williams, 29, stated she has actually now lost an ext than two dozen friends and also relatives come Chicago’s total violence, which surged last year and has shown little sign of slowly down.

Last year brought a tide of killings. “In March, Andre Taylor,” Williams said. “Then, I shed Cordero . Us went to college together. His mother grew up v my mother.”

She remembers them v photos saved in a on facebook album she called “Lost but not forgotten.”

Camiella Williams, 29, supplies her phone come store images of loved ones she’s lost to gun violence. ( Mitchell)

Historically, African-Americans have actually been the victims of a disproportionate quantity of the city’s gun violence. And that trend is getting worse. Shootings in Chicago have actually become an ext concentrated in black communities, also as the city’s African-American populace declines. Professionals said that violence could have a profound psychological effect on hundreds of black youths in this neighborhoods.

As part of a task that looks in ~ gun violence in Chicago, examined that is acquiring fatally shot and the affect it has on the survivors.

Rising disparity

Last year, Chicago’s homicide complete surged to its highest allude in two decades. And virtually 89 percent that the killings to be from shootings, follow to a evaluation of data from the chef County clinical examiner’s office. The victims had at least 646 African-Americans.

Those distinct totals don’t tell the whole story.

The percentage of homicide victims who are black has been trending upward for much more than 30 years. In 1985, African-Americans accounted for 66 percent of the city’s homicides. In 2017, 80 percent the homicide victims have actually been black.

That rise has actually come together Chicago’s black populace has been decreasing. In 1985, African-Americans do up about 40 percent that the city’s population; through 2015 the number was roughly 31 percent.


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Impact on the city

Gun violence’s impact on the mental health of Chicagoans can not be understated, stated Kimya Barden, one assistant professor of inner city research studies at Northeastern Illinois University. She said civilization don’t end up being desensitized to violence, no matter just how pervasive.

“I think yes sir this presumption that … people just acquire used to folks killing every other,” Barden said. “And that’s simply not the case.”

Williams, who prospered up on the city’s southern Side, claimed the murders have led come “present traumatic stress disorder” that weighs on she every day. She claimed she still has trouble sleeping due to the fact that of the violent death of her cousin, Ural Durant, top top July 29, 2016.

Barden claimed being around trauma every the time deserve to lead to “anger, aggression hopelessness.”

How go Williams, a long-time gun-control advocate who has talked publicly around her activism, cope through her feelings?

She stated she freshly bought a pistol to defend her family.

Chip Mitchell reports out of’s West next studio. Follow him at

This story to be updated Sept. 19, 2017, come reflect the most recent numbers from the medical examiner’s office.

This story is part of"s Every various other Hour project.

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Criminal justice reporting and investigative journalism at is supported in part by Doris and also Howard Conant, The Joyce foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.