Published in U.S. Catholic, July 2009
Second for feature, Catholic Press Association
Honorable mention for feature, Associated Church Press

Urban violence takes a toll on children, but in Chicago, the Catholic Church is there to support them. 

As a firefighter and a police officer, Annette Nance-Holt and her ex-husband, Ronald Holt, knew the dangers of the city and took every precaution they could to protect their son, Blair. “He wasn’t the kind of teenager that didn’t listen,” says Nance-Holt. “He was an outstanding young person.”

When another teen opened fire on a public bus after school on May 10, 2007, Blair, 16, showed himself to be a hero, throwing his body over a girl and taking the gunshot that would kill him.

Blair became one of 32 Chicago Public School students killed that school year, and also emerged as a symbol for the victims of youth violence. …


PDF of “Under the gun” (additional photography and sidebars)

Photography by Carlos Javier Ortiz