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Stories about kids, guns and how to stop the violence. Precious Lives, created by 371 Productions, is a 2-year, 100-part weekly radio series about gun violence and young people in the Milwaukee area. The series applies a public health lens to each story to help listeners understand the full scope of the problem: who are the victims and the shooters; how are the weapons obtained; and what can we change about the environment that contributes to violence in Milwaukee?

#072 Precious Lives: Fighting For The Right to Grow Up

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Emily Forman / Precious Lives
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The May 17th rally to honor Za’layia Jenkins on her 10th birthday broke out into a block party, with kids in the neighborhood finding joy and laughter in a game of double dutch.";

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Credit Family photo
Za’layia Jenkins

On the evening of May 5, shots rang out between two rival groups on the 1500 block of West Meinecke Avenue in Milwaukee. After more than 40 rounds were fired, the only known victim was nine-year-old Za’Layia Jenkins.

She had been watching TV inside when the shots began. Za’layia was shot in the head and was declared brain dead a week and a half later, the day before her 10th birthday.

When something like this happens, other kids are left thinking about their future.

Precious Lives spoke to four young people of varying ages, all of whom are growing up in the neighborhood where Za’layia was shot.

Corresponding Content:

WUWM - Milwaukee Girl's Shooting Death Sparks Huge Outpouring From Community

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Grief-filled mourners remember girl slain by stray gunfire

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