On May 31, 2012, most teenagers were wishing for school to be over and were already planning their summer. For Mercy Benzaquen, this was the day she found out her brother had been kidnapped.
The Benzaquen family lives in Caracas, Venezuela, a country where kidnapping happens all too often. For Mercy’s brother, Simon, it occurred as he was riding home from the airport with a family friend, Pedro.
After losing her son, Taisha Akins is now an activist against gun violence.
Taisha’s son Khris died from gun violence after defending his brother.
Taisha’s story is featured on the first episode of EWHAS.
Taisha Akins is a mother of three children and lifelong resident of Dorchester. She has three children (two boys and one girl). At the tender age of 14 years old she became a teen mother and enrolled in alternative school to learn in an environment that consisted of fellow teenage mothers.
In 2011 her middle child, Khris Mckinney, was gunned down in their neighborhood on Whitman and Norfolk Street. A dispute erupted involving Khris’ older brother. After coming to the defense of his brother, an undisclosed assailant hid in the bushes, and shot him in his back. Currently no one has been charged with crime. A code of silence governs the area; due to fear of retaliation, no one has identified the perpetrator, whom they know.