U’rica Winder was just 6 years old when her mother and little sister, along with her mother’s boyfriend and a family friend, were brutally murdered during a robbery by two men in the Henry Horner Homes, a public housing project in Chicago, on Sept. 24, 1986. She saved herself by playing dead. Winder, now 34, is a certified nursing assistant and the owner of God’s Little Helpers day care in Fort Wayne, Ind. She opens up about that horrific experience and her life since the tragedy.

I was stabbed 48 times. My attacker used a knife in one hand to cut me and a pen in the other to dig out my guts. I broke free but he caught me, then continued the stabbing. I thought the only way to make him stop was by playing dead, so that’s what I did. I had a hole in my heart from one of my wounds, and it was reported that I died three times. At 8 years old, somehow I came back and eventually found the strength to testify against the men because I didn’t want them to hurt anyone else.

After their trials, everything and nothing changed. Both men were convicted and my story was mentioned in There Are No Children Here, a book about two boys growing up in the Henry Horner Homes. But I still resided in the same projects with my grandma on the fourth floor, just two levels above where my family was murdered. I didn’t move until I was 14 and lived in constant fear that someone would come back and finish the job, but now I believe it was God who protected me and turned me into an inspiration for others.

Read more in the September 2014 issue of EBONY Magazine.