There is nothing that will truly heal Ayanna Brown’s grief over the loss of her 12-year-old son, who was fatally shot four years ago by a man who mistakenly thought the innocent boy was a member of a rival gang.
Alajawan Brown, who loved school, football and helping others, was returning home on April 29, 2010, after buying a pair of football cleats with money he’d spent months earning when he was shot on the streets of Skyway.
His killer, Curtis J. Walker, now 39, was convicted of killing Alajawan and sentenced to 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
But there are things that help her cope and carry on, Brown said Tuesday.
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She has her faith. And she has the charitable foundation, Alajawan’s Hands, that she and her husband, Louis, started to honor their youngest child’s legacy of caring. Over the past four years, the foundation has collected and distributed thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies.
In addition, she said, there are touching reminders that her boy has not been forgotten by others.
On Wednesday at 6 p.m., the King County Sheriff’s Office will be dedicating its new West Hills storefront office at 12629 Renton Ave. S. in Skyway to Alajawan’s memory.
In addition, the community will unveil a “Welcome to Skyway” sign and open sidewalks that have been several years in the making, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Ayanna Brown said knowing that people remember her son and what he stood for has helped her through many dark, difficult moments.
“You never heal,” she said. “I’ve just learned to keep going. I depend on prayer. I don’t know how I could do it without God’s strength, and I depend on my awesome family. And I rely on all the people who are not even blood relatives who have been there to support us all the way.”
Alajawan’s Hands, a registered charity with the state, was started after Walker’s trial when Brown and her husband, Louis, were looking for a way to bring meaning to their son’s death.
Unpacking his backpack and seeing his carefully tended set of crayons and school supplies helped the Browns decide on their first goal of providing school supplies for children in Skyway.
Brown said the foundation will continue to collect and donate school supplies, but is also working to provide tutoring and mentoring for local children. In addition, the foundation is open to partnering with other agencies and groups, said Brown.
“We’re all for anything that will bring the community together,” she said.
Members of the public are invited to attend the dedication and unveiling ceremony in Skyway. People wishing to make donations of service can contact the organization through the website alajawanshands.com/
Donations can be made to Alajawan’s Hands at the website, as well, or can be made at any U.S. Bank (routing number 125000105, account number 153563200408).
Christine Clarridge can be reached at cclarridge @seattletimes.com