PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. - "I want people to be healed and I don’t want people to be angry. Because that’s where the gun violence is coming from. Because people are so angry."
Tyreese McAllister has every right to be angry. The Prince George’s County mother and therapist lost her youngest daughter, Ayana McAllister, to gun violence in D.C. in March 2017. Ayana was watching the making of a music video with friends around the 4300 block of Benning Road, Northeast when she was gunned down. The Largo High School graduate was visiting home during her spring break from St. Augustine College in Raleigh, NC.
"It was a total loss for our community. My daughter is a loss for our community because she was 18-years-old. But the person who killed her is a loss to for our community…A mother should not have to bury her child. But a mother should not have to visit her child in prison. So no matter what side of the gun, a child is on, it is a loss for our community."
The person who murdered McAllister has not been brought to justice.
After Ayana’s murder, Tyreese McAllister was looking for a helpful children’s book about dealing with loss and homicide. She could not find one, so she wrote a book of her own.
"This book was written out of a need. When my 18-year-old was killed I knew that, as a therapist, I knew that something was needed to support not only the children in my family, but other children. And I knew that we don’t address homicide the way it should be addressed. We don’t talk about it," McAllister says.
The children’s book is titled, "Is My Lollipop in Heaven?" Lollipop was Ayana’s nickname.
McAllister wants to be able to gift this book to people who experience all sorts of tragedies. She is looking for financial help to achieve this goal.
"I don’t want to be an ambulance chaser. I don’t want to call people and say, ‘hey I heard you had a homicide in your family or something.’ I want be able to gift this book and we need resources to do it."
Beyond the book, McAllister stays focused on her main mission, gun violence activism.
"It doesn’t matter if you are for guns or against guns, everybody deserves to be safe. Everybody should want community safety."
To get more information on the book, click here.
Also, Tyreese McAllister will be part of a Black author book fair at District Jump, in Prince George’s County, on Saturday, April 17. The event begins at 2 p.m.