PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Cheryl and Joel Seay were a family on the block who everyone knew. If you didn’t know where your kids were, they were probably hanging out and eating at Cheryl and Joel’s.
“Even more than that, we used to take children to Florida with our kids,” Joel recalled.
But in 2011 on Easter Sunday, tragedy arrived at their doorstep. A young man came to their house and asked to speak to their 18-year-old son, Jarell.
“As Jarell turned around and I turned around and go into the house, one of the guys turned around with a gun and shot Jarell twice in his back,” said Joel.
It was a horrific moment that changed their lives forever.
“The boys ran off. Jarell lay there shaking and dying, right in front of me,” Joel said. “The only word I can find for the feeling that we had was anger.”
Cheryl and Joel suffered the unexplainable pain of a parent losing a child to senseless gun violence. But out of that tragedy, the Jarell Christopher Seay Love and Laughter Foundation was born.
The mission: “Uniting communities by connecting families while helping to protect our children through gun violence prevention, safety and education,” said Cheryl.
“Let love be the power that rules you because when you have love in you, then you will make the right choice.”
During Black History Month, KYW Newsradio’s GameChangers honors 10 individuals or organizations that have made a significant, positive impact in communities of color in the greater Philadelphia region. KYW community affairs reporter Racquel Williams will host an evening honoring this year’s awardees on Feb. 24. View a full list of 2022 honorees below.