Herbert Lasean "Sluggo" Cleaves, Jr.
Herbert "Sluggo" Cleaves, Jr. was born March 30, 1973, and
died February 18, 2001, a victim of gun violence. He was twenty-seven,
and the oldest child of two of my best friends from Flint, Herb and
Herbert was academically and athletically gifted from an early age.
Throughout his school years, he was in advanced classes, and excelled
in basketball, soccer, and football. At Flint Northern High School,
he was a standout football player. Herbert was a member of the NAACP
Youth Council. He had a deep spiritual relationship with God, and attended
services at Charity United Methodist Church in Flint. Herbert had tremendous
love and respect for his family and friends.
While standing on a friend's porch in Flint early on the morning of
February 18, 2001, Herbert was shot in the stomach in a drive-by shooting.
He died soon after at an area hospital. His life ended far too early,
tragically and unnecessarily, another victim of gun violence and life
in one of the nation's poorest cities---Flint, Michigan.
John Alberts was the sound designer and mixer for much of my work in
the past decade, from TV Nation and the Awful Truth to the Big One.
He had also been hired to do the sound work on "Bowling For Columbine"
but sadly ended his life with a gun in January 2001. He was brilliant,
funny, and one of our longtime friends and co-conspirators. He is sorely
missed by all of us.
Written by her parents, Nick and Amanda Wilcox
Laura Wilcox was born on March 5, 1981, and died January 10, 2001,
a victim of handgun violence. She was nineteen.
Laura had extraordinary capabilities. She was an outstanding student,
graduating as high school valedictorian and was at the time of her death
a sophomore at Haverford College, where she was pursuing a dual major
in history and political science. She was extremely organized, disciplined
and motivated. Couple these traits with her positive energy and she
was a natural leader. Throughout her childhood and teen years, Laura
was actively involved in extracurricular activities. She served on student
government for many years and was planning her campaign for student
body president when she died. Laura had unlimited possibilities and
the brightest of prospects.
Her outer beauty was matched by her inner beauty. She possessed a strong
sense of values and always treated others with encouragement, respect,
and kindness. Laura wanted to make a positive difference in the world.
Her life was witness to her beliefs, as she touched and inspired the
lives of those around her.
Laura was working for a few days during her Christmas break at
a county behavioral health clinic. Laura's life ended, and the lives
of many others were forever changed, when a severely mentally ill
patient, who was known by many to be in possession of an arsenal
of firearms, appeared at the reception window for a regularly scheduled
appointment and shot Laura four times with a semi-automatic handgun.
When the rampage ended at the clinic, and at a nearby restaurant,
Laura and two others lay dead and three were severely injured.
After her death, her college professor wrote the following words,
"Laura cared deeply about issues; she wanted to learn in order
to make a difference. She was the best of the best. In Laura's nineteen
years, she accomplished more than most of us will manage in fifty.
We have been transformed by her. Her contributions to campus life,
academic and social, her ideals and her dreams are an inspiration
to us all. We need to promise ourselves to live up to Laura's ideals,
to remind ourselves of, and redouble our commitment to the goals
of social justice and service that Laura embraced so wholeheartedly.
I assure you that I will do my best as an educator, and as a parent,
to uphold Laura's legacy." We must all uphold Laura‚s
legacy as we work toward a just and safer world.