Reflecting on the Life of Jonathan Freeman


Michael Eddy Harvey (left), Kingston Cox (middle), Jonathan Freeman (right) as students at Liberty Elementary

Kingston Cox, Contributor

At approximately 10:00 pm on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019, one of the greatest people I have ever met in my life passed away. I did not find out until the next morning, and when I did, I was shaken to my core. From what I’ve read about on the news and from what I’ve heard from those who know people that were there when the incident happened, Jonathan was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was at a friend’s house playing video games when a person with a gun came into the house and fired shots, some of which hit Jonathan in the head and torso.

Jonathan is just one of many young black men whose lives were cut short due to gun violence. Deaths from firearms disproportionately affect black men in America compared to white men, with 29.12 gun homicide deaths per 100,000 people versus just 2.1, respectively, during the years 2008 to 2016. This has been part of an ever-growing issue in the United States in terms of overall deaths related to gun violence.

His life, however, brief as it was, will carry on through our memories. Jonathan was a hilarious and extremely intelligent person. He could very passionately debate any variety of topics for hours. Things he and I would constantly debate included but were not limited to politics, sports, music, and movies. Whether it was comparing the discographies of the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac or his insistence that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time and that the Deflategate controversy was a “witch hunt,” Jonathan and I never ran out of things to talk about. Part of the reason my taste in music is the way it is today is because of Jonathan. He got me hooked on one of my favorite rappers of all time, Kendrick Lamar. Any time I listen to his album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, I think of Jonathan because he convinced me to give it a listen. Not only would Jonathan and I discuss and debate, but we also got into many shenanigans, which account for some of my fondest memories of him. One of my favorite memories of Jonathan is the time he demonstrated that he had no gag reflex by putting a whole Twizzler down his throat and pulling it back out. That was by far one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I also think back to our time at Liberty Elementary, which feels like a lifetime ago despite us only having graduated less than 7 years ago. We were so young and oblivious to the horrors of the world, never once thinking that we could be mourning the death of a friend before they even graduated high school.

I often find myself seeing something funny and thinking, “I should text Jonathan about this,” quickly realizing that I can no longer do so. The week since his passing has been very difficult for me, as I felt a strong brotherly bond with Jonathan. Even though we went to different schools (he transferred from Obama to Allderdice in 2017), when we would hang out it would feel as though we had just seen each other the day before. We could just talk for hours.

It is going to be very hard for anyone who knew Jonathan to accept his death as reality. Personally, I’m having a lot of trouble processing the fact that the very last time I will see him will be in a casket, with his friends and family crying for him. Jonathan was by far one of the most fun, intelligent, and real people I have ever met in my life. He stayed very true to himself and never changed his personality for anyone or anything. The death of Jonathan marks the loss of a classmate, a marching band member, an aspiring programmer, an older brother, a son, and a very dear friend to many. He will forever live on in our memories and in our hearts, a bright young man taken from this world too soon.

Jonathan Freeman giving a speech as a graduating fifth-grader at Liberty Elementary