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14-year-old Dajae Coleman of Evanston was found shot to death in the 1500 block of Church Street Saturday night, according to Evanston Police officials. Dajae Coleman’s family, including his mother Tiffany Rice, center in gray sweatshirt, gathers on Foster Street in Evanston on Sept. 23. PHOTO/CHICAGO TRIBUNE

By Hunter Bailey
Evanston

When 14-year-old Dajae Coleman was shot and killed in Evanston on Sept. 22, the community was shocked. He was just a freshman in high school, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dajae touched the lives of many. He was a passionate and bright young man, and a promising basketball player. His city sorely misses him.

What has been incredible to see, though, has been the reaction from this community. Evanston has not accepted this violence, nor has the town let it tear them apart. The unity in the wake of this tragedy has been unbelievable. Students organized a plan to wear red to school the Monday after Dajae’s death; red was his favorite color. Others have reached out to NBA stars such as LeBron James, of whom Dajae was a big fan, to recognize Dajae and speak out against violence through social media. Big names such as Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Kemba Walker and Tyson Chandler have all acknowledged the loss on Twitter with a common message: “Stay strong Evanston.”

Although Dajae Coleman is no longer with us, his impact is everywhere in this suburb of Chicago. A town often divided by multiple barriers has learned to love. The loss of this young man is tragic, but Evanston has taken away all they can from the passing of a boy who gave so much.

>> Do you have thoughts about Dajae Coleman and how his death has affected students at Evanston and the community as a whole? Share with us in the comments below.

UPDATE: Man charged in slaying of Evanston teen Dajae Coleman

Services for Dajae will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29, at First Church of God Christian Life Center, 1524 Simpson St. in Evanston. The wake will be held from 10 a.m., followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m.

A Facebook page dedicated to the memory of the teen, “R.I.P. DaJae,” had nearly 5,300 likes on Friday morning.

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Maura Wall Hernandez is digital editor of The Mash.

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