By Chinta Strausberg
Funeral visitation services for 20-year-old LaNiyah Murphy, a member of Saint Sabina’s B.R.A.V.E., (Bold Resistance Against Violence Everywhere), who was murdered last Tuesday while sitting in her car, will be held Friday, January 14, at 10 a.m. at Saint Sabina Church followed by an 11 a.m. service.
Saying daily murders and shootings cannot be the norm for Chicago, Father Michael Pfleger was outraged over the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Murphy who ironically was shot in the head in 2018,but survived.
Last Tuesday while sitting in a car in the 12200 block of South Wallace Street around 6:15 p.m. she was fatally shot in the head.
Pfleger said the murder of Murphy “is one more talented, beautiful, bold articulate and charismatic young person gunned down on the streets of a city that doesn’t seem to care.”
At a press conference held at Saint Sabina’s ARK, Lamar Johnson, prevention coordinator for the B.R.A.V.E. Youth Leaders of Saint Sabina, spoke highly of Murphy. “Laniyah was a wonderful young leader She helped organize peace initiatives and spoke out on behalf of B.R.A.V.E. in Chicago and across the nation including in Washington, D.C.
“She spoke to youth about organizing against gun violence and school shootings as well as telling her story on how she survived being shot in the head in 2018,” Johnson recalled.
A graduate of Perspective Leadership Academy where she was the salutatorian of her graduating class, Murphy was currently a student at Governor’s State University majoring in sociology. She was active in the school’s Social Justice Initiative.
At the press conference, was Teyonna Lofton, another B.R.A.V.E. leader, who is also a gunshot victim. She was shot in the arm May 31, 2020 having just graduated from Perspectives Leadership Academy.
An emotional Lofton told reporters, when she was shot two years ago it was Murphy who counseled her.
“She was a healer,” Lofton said. “She helped me. She talked me through it. She rode with me in the car to the hospital. LaNiyah was there. LaNiyah held pressure on my arm. She was there. She’s a helper. She’s a healer. She’s a friend. She was so much more than the sassy girl, a pretty face, or a dancer. LaNiyah was put on earth for everybody in this room.”
An emotional Lofton added, “How many of us have to die? How many of us have to get shot for you to stand up and make a change?”
Pam Bosley, co-founder of Purpose Over Pain, comprised of parents who have lost their children to gun violence, and a violence prevention manager at Saint Sabina, said the city must form a task force to investigate Murphy’s murder. “Catch the shooters just like you caught the looters,” Bosley said, referring to the looters who raided stores after the death of George Floyd.
And to the person who killed Murphy, Pfleger had a message: “We will not allow you to continue to terrorize our communities and kill our children. We’ve lost too much.”
Last year, there were 797 murders, up 3.23 percent over 2020. Pfleger said, “Here we are seven days into 2022 and already we have 41 people shot and wounded. This has to stop.”