What we were talking about: Late last week, we mentioned the fact that the city of Baltimore is full of good, decent, tremendously admirable black kids.
The next day, one day late, we read a front-page Baltimore Sun report about one of those kids who was murdered last week. To all appearances, she was killed by an older teen who had lost his way.
Courtesy of three Sun reporters, this was Diamond Williams, the 16-year-old rising junior at Mergenthaler Tech (Mervo) who was killed last week:
RECTOR, FENTON AND BOWIE (7/20/13): Teachers said Diamond was enrolled in a nursing program and was a cheerleader. She was a member of the school's modeling club and had acted in two school plays, including "Annie," this past year. Her mother said she wanted to pursue a career in theater.She pleaded for a trip to the Holocaust Museum!
"She was one of the sweetest, best kids I have ever met," said her English teacher, Alicia Van Wert. "I loved having her in class every day. She was going places."
Terrena Williams, Diamond's mother, said her daughter grew up in the family's neighborhood and thrived at Mergenthaler.
"Diamond was the sweetest person you could know," she said. "She had a good head on her shoulders."
Van Wert, her teacher, described her as a particularly compassionate teenager who volunteered to take charge of two elementary students at the Special Olympics this year.
"She built a relationship with them within the first 10 minutes she was there and set a good example for everyone."
And when the petite girl studied the Holocaust this year, she pleaded with Van Wert to arrange a trip to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington because she had never been there. When she got there, she was fascinated by the exhibition. "She was very curious about things all the time," Van Wert said.
"She was one of our most promising students," said Angel Watts, an emergency room nurse and a nursing teacher at Mergenthaler. "She had this bubbly, upbeat personality."
When Diamond walked through Mervo's halls, Watts said, she would always say hello, even if she had seen that person a half-hour before. Williams was in a training program to become a nursing assistant and was one of the top students in the class that Watts co-taught.
Watts said Diamond had supportive parents and came to school every day. She was "eager to do what she needed to do to stand out" in her classes.
"She was one of those kids who everybody spoke to. She was such a pleasure to teach. I can't believe this happened to her."
The city of Baltimore is full of good, decent kids. Last week, when we said we think they’re sensational, this portrait is part of what we meant.
There are also many kids in Baltimore who have lost their way, perhaps quite badly, as must have been the case with the 19-year-old who seems to have murdered Williams before killing himself soon thereafter.
We’ve been thinking about those sensational kids in the past few weeks as we listen to the ongoing discussions about the killing of Trayvon Martin. We’ll do a post on the topic each day this week.
But for today, that portrait of Diamond Williams, 16, is part of what we meant last week. What are these good, decent kids being told about the killing of Martin?