A Wayne High School student who lost her brother in an accidental shooting a year ago transformed her pain into award-winning poetry.
“On April 16th 2018 my little brother Darius Marcell Boone passed away three days before my birthday due to being shot in the head by his best friend,” said 17-year old Aliyah Armstrong. “He was 14.”
The shooting happened April 15, 2018 at a home in the 2700 block of Chestnut street. The 14 year old boy who accidentally shot Armstrong’s brother also accidentally shot a 9-year old in the leg. “That night when we went to the hospital he was in critical condition,” said Armstrong. “He was basically brain dead. During that night and Monday morning they basically told us there was no chance of him living.”
In the months that followed Armstrong’s tears took the form of the written and spoken word, winning her first place in the Indiana High School Forensic Association’s Speech tournament in poetry in March 2019. Her seven minute poem consists of two separate published poems with her story intertwined.
“Dedicated to my brother and other young black boys, I’ll be presenting two poems, I Know You Didn’t Mean To Kill Him by Jasmine Mans and How the Hood Loves You Back by Steven Willis,” recited Armstrong. “Dear Little Brothers, a poetry program.”
“What she’s done differently is taken the opportunity to make it more than just a poem,” said speech coach Felisa Cockrell. “She’s made it personal. She’s given herself the permission to grow from it.”
“Yes it was very challenging,” said Armstrong. “But I felt like it helped me a little bit so I won’t need therapy or so I won’t need to go home and grieve and just sit there depressed.”
“It shows to others I can move beyond my circumstance and turn it into something positive,” said Cockrell. “It was tough but she’s made it.”
“l want to inspire and influence other young kids that you don’t have to use violence. I just use this to not only help myself but actually to help others,” said Armstrong. “When someone tells you that you can’t do anything if anything tragic happens to you don’t stop. There’s always time for you to get better there’s always another chance and what you go through can help somebody else if you just do it the positive way.”