Death is difficult. Whether it’s a family member, friend, colleague or even a beloved celebrity, loss is always painful. And no matter how much time you may have had to mentally prepare, for those left behind, these poignant reminders of our mortality remain a hard pill to swallow.

But there’s something about a premature death, the unexpected departure  of an individual who didn’t have the  opportunity to live a full life, that is shocking and devastating. Even in the most benign of circumstances, it leaves so many unanswered questions, so  much potential unrealized.

Over the past 10 months, our community has endured more than its fair share of premature death under questionable circumstances. Victor White III, John Crawford, Eric Garner— these are just a few names that managed to receive widespread attention and make national headlines. I cringe  to think of how many did not.

Read more in the October 2014 issue of EBONY Magazine.