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Anti-violence youth gunned down, but not silenced

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Ravon JordanDressed in jeans, a low-neck T-shirt and white sneakers, 19-year-old Ravon Jordan strode confidently to the podium to address the city council.

He had just three minutes, so he got right to the point: Eleven days earlier, on May 1, Jordan's best friend, Shaniqua Simmons, and her boyfriend were gunned down in an apartment at the complex formally known as the Cambridge Arms. It was the second double homicide at the 694-unit complex since January, and Jordan said it was time for the city to close it down.

"I don't feel like, as a resident in an apartment complex, you should be paying basically for your grave site," he said. "You shouldn't be paying to be killed or murdered in your own house."

City officials had worked with the owners to increase security, to install more cameras, even to change the name to Barrington Place. But to Jordan, that wasn't enough.

"Changing the name is not going to change the violence at all," he said politely, but firmly. "You could still put lipstick on a pig, and it's going to be a pig at the end of the day."

Having said what he was there to say, he stepped away from the microphone. A council member thanked him for his remarks.

Barely a month later, the aspiring fashion designer was dead.

Cut down in the crossfire between two rival gangs during an early morning house party, he was the victim of the city's ninth homicide of 2014.

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