Two men linked by a tragedy that occurred 20 years ago have come together and are spreading their message of peace to children at the middle school level.
Tariq Khamisa had just made a pizza delivery in North Park when suddenly there was a gun in his face. As he rolled up the car window, he was shot to death by a 14-year-old boy.
Still a child, Tony Hicks was convicted of murder and sentenced to prison.
Ironically, Hicks’ grandfather and the father of his victim formed a bond after the tragic night in 1995. Together, they tour schools and urge students to forgive.
Azim Khamisa told reporters outside the assembly at Knox Middle School, “Our mission is to stop kids from killing kids; breaking the cycle of youth violence.”
The gunman’s grandfather, Ples Felix Jr., added, “We’re trying to help kids understand that a bully needs forgiveness because he was probably harmed by somebody else and is carrying harm with him.”
Knox Middle School eighth grader Abdasai Suarez said he learned “not to hold anger towards them; if they do something to you, not go back and do something back at them.”
It’s a message that’s been spread to other countries as well.