Six years after the mother of a local student was shot dead in Washington, her family and community have come together once again to wish her good luck in college after making sure the tragedy didn’t not stop his success.
Devontae Gliss, now 18, goes to study computer science at Morgan State University.
Its objective is to “make a difference, [and] being able to help people like people helped me when I was growing up, ”he said.
Gliss refers to the network of people who helped her after her mother, Tamara Gliss, was shot and killed in 2015. She was at a Memorial Day barbecue in the Shaw neighborhood of Northwest DC when she was hit by a stray bullet.
Gliss was 12 and was playing basketball nearby when he heard the shots.
Now he wears a necklace with their photo around his neck every day.
“She always pushed me to, you know, be me and never change for anyone. So I just live on her legacy, I do what I need to do to make sure she has a smile on her face while she’s up there, ”he said.
Gliss’ grandmother, Sandra, made sure he stayed on track. On Saturday, she organized an effort to collect items for her dorm and said her daughter would be so proud.
“Tamara would be like – oh man, she would be overjoyed,” Sandra Gliss said. “She would party.
This day may not have come without the support Gliss received, not only from the family, but the community at large.
People who came forward to congratulate him and wish him good luck for the future included his elementary school teacher the year his mother was murdered.
“It’s quite moving, and we’re really happy that he’s made it this far and is going to college,” said Elizabeth Alexander.
Other community leaders, including Thennie Freeman, also stayed close to make sure Gliss always had what he needed.
“We would never be able to replace the love of his mother, but just [let] let him know we haven’t forgotten you, ”Freeman said.