I just lost my brother and my best friend

Siah and Ivy Gray. Photo courtesy Ivy Gray

Growing up with siblings, I always pictured my two brothers and I growing old together. I pictured that I would be the best auntie to my nieces and nephews. I pictured that I, like always, would buy birthday cards for our parents, and just write my brothers’ names on it.

Never in a million years did I picture losing my younger brother Siah to a gunshot. 

Siah was the youngest of three. Siah and I were 16 months apart. Most people thought we were twins. After hearing it so often, we decided to play along. Siah and I had an unbreakable bond. We shared similar interests. While we did fight, we also would make sure that we knew we loved each other. We supported each other. I would always be front and center at Siah’s basketball games cheering him on. 

Siah definitely stood out among the family. Siah took everything my older brother Strickland and I did, and made it his own. He was very likable and easy to love. 

Siah was a beam of light. While he was quiet and reserved, he let his art speak for him. Siah was talented in many ways. He drew, wrote and produced music as well as had a passion for fashion.

In everything he did, he was an overachiever. He never took no for an answer. 

Siah was a second-year cybersecurity student at Grambling University in Louisiana. He was scheduled to graduate in May of 2023. While he was grateful to follow in the footsteps of both of our parents at Grambling, he always wanted to be a Rattler at heart.

I often spend time alone and question why this could have happened to someone so gentle. At times when I feel like breaking down, I look into my parents’ eyes and remember that I must stay strong. I often find myself sitting in Siah’s room hoping one day he will just come back. 

Siah’s death is a wake-up call for our community. Siah is an example on why we as a Black community need to stick together and speak up.

While Georgia has one of the highest gun violence rates in the country, we have the ability to make a change. 

I have begun working on a non-profit organization dedicated to acting against gun violence within the Black community. With this non-profit organization, I plan to make a change so that other families will not have to encounter the same pain my family has felt.  

December 22 will be the day I never forget. Three days before Christmas, I discovered that my 20-year-old brother had been shot and killed 17 minutes away from our Atlanta home. Gunshots were heard the night before but no one called the police or thought to check and see what happened. 

It’s been over a month and the pain is still unbearable. Death is something that you can never prepare for. It is something that you just have to deal with. It is now my job to make sure Siah’s legacy lives on forever.