If you’re remotely familiar with the backgrounds of tennis champions and sisters Venus and Serena Williams, you’ll know they were raised in the not-so-friendly streets of Compton, CA.
But what may not be as widely known is that these same streets took the life of their older half-sister Yetunde Price in 2003.
The Williams sister recounted the tragic death at “A Family Affair, Presented by Oath” on Saturday. The event aimed to empower women and propel dialogue surrounding community violence.
“Well, violence has affected our lives personally — we lost our sister, she was the oldest — to violence,” Serena said at the event where other panelists included ESPN anchor Jemele Hill and activist Tamika Mallory. “But I think what people don’t realize is how violence really affects not only your family, but your friends, your neighbors…everyone,” she continued as she began tearing up. “And it’s … I’m going to stop there.”
A drive-by shooting took the life of the sisters’ 31-year-old sibling.
Venus said having to inform their sister’s children of their mother’s killing was one of the greatest struggles the two have faced.
“You can’t prepare for that,” she said.
She continued by sharing that drive-bys were a fixture in their neighborhood growing up.
“As we were growing up on the tennis courts in Compton, California, some of the cars were not new,” Venus continued. “And there was also gunfire, so if a car backfired, we knew to hit the ground, because it sounded very similar to a gun. So between the gunshots and the cars backfiring, we were always hitting the ground. Our dad always had us get back up and practice, though.”
Fortunately, Price’s death was not in vain. All proceeds from the day-long conference went toward the Yetunde Price Resource Center, an organization devoted to serving those impacted by community violence.