Friends and family are saying that that sentiment was how Jackson lived his life: applying himself passionately to his studies (he was a straight-A student with a $50,000 college scholarship already in the bank) to sports (he was a starting guard on his school’s varsity basketball team and an avid Georgetown Hoyas fan) to community service (when a new teacher expressed fear of walking to a nearby Metro stop, Jackson walked the teacher there himself).
“He was a good kid,” his cousin, Melissa Green Peterson said Thursday evening at a vigil in memory of Jackson. He was shot to death April 7 in the 1300 block of Congress Street SE.
Peterson said the family is anxious for police to find the person or people responsible for Jackson’s death, and urged anyone who may have information, to call police.
“The way that he was murdered, people might be afraid to (speak up),” she said. “But if you loved him or knew him even a little, even if it’s just the smallest thing, call or write a letter or send a note,” she said.
More than 300 people, mostly students from HD Woodson High School, where Jackson was an 11th grader, gathered for that vigil, which at times more closely resembled a spirit assembly than a memorial service.
School Social Worker Jenise Murray, who planned the event, said getting the kids all together on the basketball court where Jackson played was important.
“For the week we’ve been disconnected,” she said. “When we heard about Raheem’s death, it rippled through our school, through the staff and through the students. We needed to do something to make the children feel like they are safe and comforted. They live in a society where death happens this way.”
Murray pointed to a poem, by Jackson, which was published in Woodson’s student newspaper, The Insider, this week. He wrote:
Walking Benning Road at night is like
being scarred on your first fight.
It’s crazy. You are paranoid, cautions on every
turn. You hear a voice, turn around.
No one speaking a word.
walking through the dark street
you run away with a long distance scream.
You’re running from dark faces you’ve seen,
all the nightmares you have ever dreamed.
It’s just you facing reality as you get to your house
still in a daze, trying to figure out
what it’s like to
walk down Benning Road.
A funeral service is planned for Jackson for Friday.