Yesterday I got a call from a colleague to inform me of Joshmahl Russell’s passing. He was shot in North Richmond on Sunday, March 13, 2016 and passed away there before he could be revived. He was 21 years old. This shocking tragedy has affected all who knew him.
I first met Joshmahl on July 13, 2015, at the RYSE Center where he was a youth web developer in the Hack The Hood bootcamp. He had been a RYSE member before and a staff member recommended him for our summer web design bootcamp. On the first day of bootcamp we asked the students to take a picture and as he posed I noticed his delightful smile. As the lead instructor for the class I got to know Joshmahl better over the following six weeks. He was occasionally shy in class, but when he chose to speak he often made insightful and poetic comments.
As much as I’d like to only remember him as he was—a dancing, vibrant, forward-looking young man— I am also mourning the loss of what he could have become. This type of violent end to a young life will never be tolerable. I'm extending my condolences to anyone who knew Joshmahl. I also invite any visitor of this blog to read Joshmahl's previous blog posts to get a better sense of what he did during his time with Hack The Hood.
You can help his family in this difficult time by donating to their GoFundMe page here: https://www.gofundme.com/qau9hvgc