November 11, 2005

Our community needs more lights

By Pablo Jaime Sainz

The night of Friday, October 28, 2005, Donna Hernandez was shot and killed while walking through the dark South Bay Recreation Center, in Nestor, after a Homecoming game at Southwest High School.

Last Sunday, November 6, classmates and relatives came together to demand that more lights be placed at the park, a common gathering place for families in the South Bay.

“Lights will prevent danger,” said Sasha Pizarro, Southwest High student body president. “Darkness makes anything possible.”

Donna, 17, was an active young woman in Southwest High who had a great future ahead for her, said many of her classmates. Those who knew her said she was always cheering everyone up.

About 50 people were at the meeting to discuss ways to prevent further violence taking place at the park.

“Light our park!” were some of the signs Southwest High students carried during the meeting.

They were hoping that Donna’s death wouldn’t be in vain.

“We cannot allow murderers to take control of our community,” said Mary-Evelyn Porter, Donna’s English teacher. “We’re here today to hear the voices of the good and to light our park.”

Two men have been arrested in connection to Donna’s death: Samson Mendoza, 21, and Basilio Bernard, 22.

Some of the students there said that at night the park is very dark, and it is the perfect place for criminals to attack.

“We want to stop the violence in any way possible,” said Stefany Reeing.

“It’s a problem that’s present all over the district,” said Remy Berm-udez who was a candidate for District 8. “Let’s make sure that Donna’s is not a wasted death and let’s go to City Council and demand more lights in our communities Where there is darkness, there is crime and people hide in the darkness.”

Friends described Donna as an upbeat young woman with an unlimited future. She had dreamed of becoming a trauma surgeon. Flowers, candles and pieces of Halloween candy were near a tree in front of the parking space where Donna was killed.

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