Twenty-seven-year-old Charnice Milton had just completed an assignment, covering a neighborhood meeting for a Capitol Hill newspaper, the Hill Rag, waiting to transfer buses near her home in Anacostia when a bullet — aimed for someone, else according to police — struck and killed her.
That was one year ago on the evening of May 27. To date her murder remains unsolved.
No one deserves to have their life taken away so senselessly, so suddenly. But in the case of Charnice, her untimely death remains even more tragic because of the future that laid before her.
The Syracuse University journalism major had decided to dedicate her life to writing stories that mattered in the community in which she had grown up. She was one who had the instincts and talent of a bona fide local reporter and she wanted to make a difference in the area with which she was most familiar.
In her predominantly-Black Southeast community, childhood poverty, incarceration and unemployment rank among the District’s and the Nation’s highest. Despite her age, she was determined to contribute in a positive way for those who lived in her own backyard. Time and time again, she posted news stories that exposed deadbeat landlords, articulated the real damage caused by the prison industrial complex and its disproportionate effect on Blacks and challenged insufficient medical services as well as the broken promises made by a slew of major corporations who kept finding excuses for not opening stores in neighborhoods East of the River.
Charnice realized the power of the community newspaper, believing in its value importance. Meanwhile, she spoke to her peers accessing social media like a skilled, bilingual linguist to keep them informed. Then, like a candle in the wind, her life was snuffed out.
Her death, described by District police officials as a case of “wrong place, wrong time,” was added to the growing list of unresolved homicides in Washington, D.C. Given different circumstances it may have been Charnice reporting on the death of another Black youth.
Someone needs to come forward and tell officials what really happened. Someone knows who pulled the trigger. All lives matter in our colorful tapestry of humankind.
Charnice deserves justice. Can you help?