Our Young Black Son, Jordan Davis, Was Murdered: How We’re Turning Tragedy into Action

Jordan Davis, 17, was killed by an angry white man for playing his music too loud. His story is captured in the documentary 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, premiering Monday night on HBO. Here, Davis’s parents write about coping with his death.

On the night of Nov. 23, 2012, Jordan Davis, 17, and his three friends were parked at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. There, they were confronted by Michael Dunn, 45, who objected to the loud rap music blaring from the teenagers’ car. An argument ensued, and Dunn retrieved a loaded handgun from his car and fired 10 shots into the boys’ car, killing Davis. At trial, Dunn’s defense team cited Florida’s stand-your-ground law, but on Oct. 1, 2014, Dunn received life in prison without parole for the murder of Davis.

Three years have passed since our son Jordan was murdered. As parents, we’ve struggled immensely not only with grieving, but with seeking justice for our son. Now we have a new mission: to bring our story, and those of countless other survivors, into the open.

Today, we stand united in opening up the conversation about not only what happened to Jordan, but what is happening to far too many young black males in this country. We stand together as we let the world know that not only do black lives matter, but young black men are human beings with value.

It’s time to talk about the problems of racial injustice and gun violence and to move into the realm of prevention. What happened to Jordan cannot happen to others.

So how do we begin to open this conversation? By becoming part of the solution.

We are not here to promote hatred for Michael Dunn. We have to set ourselves free of hate in order to foster a productive discussion towards change. Hate and revenge will only leave us as outsiders in the world.

We have the moral responsibility to protect, care, and be conscious of how we treat each other. With that responsibility comes the task of preventing others from living a life filled with anger, hate and fear. Once we accomplish this, we’re one step closer to our goal.

Although Jordan represents our struggle on a larger scale, we are using his memory to create a more positive message. We won’t see real reform until we acknowledge that promoting this message is everyone’s business. While we may not see change in our lifetime, we are here to start the conversation and fix what is broken.

We are both activists, traveling constantly and meeting people all over the country, because we want to change the conversation in order to change the world. We want everyone to know Jordan’s story and just how senseless this tragedy was. We need to have these tough discussions about how to bring about change in this country’s gun culture, and more specifically how to prevent the deadly result of implicit bias and current self-defense laws. At the end of the day it’s about human rights: we all have a right to feel safe out there in the world.

How will you turn tragedy into action?

Our son’s story is told in a documentary that tells the story of Jordan the person, not the victim or statistic. We hope you will take a moment and tune into the HBO documentary 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, which premieres on Nov. 23, the third anniversary of Jordan’s death.