Saturday, January 12, 2013

Remembering Her Name: Ka'Sandra Wade

Pittsburgh's first homicide of the year was a domestic violence incident that took the life of Ka'Sandra Wade. Today, I'm participating in an effort organized by my friend Sue, who writes the blog Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents and who is an active member of the local social media community, including The Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society.

Among the goals of today's Pittsburgh Cyber Vigil is to remember Ka'Sandra Wade's name. All too often in such incidents, it is the name of the alleged perpetrator that stays with us and perhaps the circumstances of the crime itself. Today, we're bringing attention to who Ka'Sandra was - a woman trying to escape an abusive relationship, an ambitious worker with aspirations of a better life, and a mother of an 11 year old son named Zaire.

I didn't know Ka'Sandra. I admit that I also didn't know many of the details of this case until I first learned of Sue's efforts with the Pittsburgh Cyber Vigil. (Maria from 2 Political Junkies has a great synopsis on her post, "Remembering Ka'Sandra Wade.) But what I do know from my five years of working in the domestic violence field is that Ka'Sandra knew she was in a bad relationship and was trying to leave - always the most dangerous time for those in domestic violence situations. Ka'Sandra had also reached out to and had the support of coworkers at her job. Finally, she called 911 on New Year's Eve when she was in trouble.

Ka'Sandra did everything that people who work in the domestic violence field tell people to do.

And yet.

And yet, now there is an investigation into the police response to that 911 call. From the reports, this appears to be rather botched (to say the least) - with investigators showing up and taking the word of a male individual that everything was fine and never speaking to the person who made the call. As Sue writes, "[t]he situation is complicated and tragic and has generated an outcry from the community to push for better investigation of domestic violence allegations, stronger laws to protect women and more awareness on the part of the community."

We start today, by remembering Ka'Sandra Wade's name and by pledging to remember the names of all those lost.

Other posts from bloggers participating in today's Cyber Vigil:

Losing Sight of the Shore –  BECAUSE Ka’Sandra Wade can not.
2 Political Junkies (Maria) – Remembering Ka’Sandra Wade
2 Political Junkies (Maria) – One More Thing
the betty and boo chronicles (full disclosure: this is my other blog) – Remember Her Name: Ka’Sandra Wade
Truality Radio – Host Ezra is an old friend of Ka’Sandra and saw her one week before her death. He describes that last encounter.
My name is Leslie Smith.  I’m known by most as Ezra.  I’m a spoken word artist and actor from Pittsburgh, Pa.  I’m so saddened by the lost of Ka’Sandra.  I called her “Pink”.  I met her in 2000 while attending the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center with her.  We both were in the college program.  We dated briefly, but remained friends.  I ran into her every once in a while and we would just say hello to one another and keep it going.  I saw her about a week and a half before her murder in East Liberty standing in front of a building.  We said our usual hellos and I kept walking.  But, then, something told me to stop, turn around, and chat with her for a little bit.  So, I turned around and asked her how she’s been.  I knew that Pink had gone through some rough times in her life from past discussions and I was hoping she was in a good place now.  She said she was about to start working full time at ACTION United and was about to start attending Devry University to receive her bachelor’s degree. Ka’Sandra sounded so proud of her accomplishments. There was a gentleman standing outside with her and I wasn’t sure if he was her boyfriend.  I asked if he was and he said no and they both laughed.  I told them I was just making sure I wasn’t disrespecting anybody.  I said, “Well, good for you.  Keep it up.”  She said thanks and I went on my way.  I left thinking to myself, “Well, there’s a job corps success story”, smiling to myself.  I was so happy for her.  She had overcame and accomplished a lot.  I still can’t believe she’s gone.
Please follow #RememberHerName
Other Mentions
Melissa McEwen at Shakesville included the vigil in her weekly lists of must-read posts.

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