Holt's death remembered on anniversary

May 10, 2008 9:48:35 PM PDT
Friends and family released balloons Saturday night in memory of Blair Holt.One year ago Saturday, the Chicago high school student was shot and killed while riding a CTA bus home.

Those who knew Holt are working hard to stop the violence against other young people.

Friends and family say it's hard to believe he's already been gone a year. What is even harder for them to deal with, they say, is that the gun violence that claimed his life is still taking the lives of other young people.

Some of Blair's closest friends gathered to remember how he touched their lives and how they might now go and touch the lives of others for good.

On the anniversary of his death, friends of Holt came together to celebrate his life at Navy Pier.

"I miss him. And they need to realize that life is too short to be doing stupid stuff. And they need to learn that you can't just take somebody's life just 'cause? It's an effect on other people. Other people gotta live with that," said Brandy Jackson, Blair Holt's girlfriend.

One of Blair's best friends helped organize the get together, choosing the base of Navy Pier's famous Ferris wheel for the gathering because it's one place Blair loved to come as a little boy.

"Us as young black youths, we never really be downtown. And like, a lot poele are like, 'I never really been downtown.' And I'm like, 'Well, we're gonna do Navy Pier things. So I'm like, 'Just come down to Navy Pier, we'll have fun,'" said Christopher Wilson, friend.

It was last year, May 10, that a 16-year-old Holt was gunned down on a CTA bus as he tried to shield a classmate from gang gunfire. Since his death and subsequent funeral, his father, Ron Holt, has become one of the city's most recognizable anti-violence advocates. And despite the ongoing gun violence, Holt says he sees progress that lets him know his son's death was not in vain.

"People are beginning to dialogue. They're beginning to communicate. They're beginning to take action in small ways in that you have a lot of responsible adults and young people who ar paying attention to the problem that are in our neighborhoods," said Ron Holt.

They are neighborhoods Blair's friends hope to change with one simple pledge - "increase the peace."

Along with the remembrances and sharing of stories and pictures, Blair's friends plan on having a barbeque June 1 that would have been Blair's 18th birthday.

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