Kala Thomas was 25 years old, raising four children as a single, working black mother in Garfield with the support of her extended family.
On May 23, her body was discovered in the hillside behind her home. Her abandoned car was found the next day. Six weeks later, police have not identified any suspects. I blogged about her life and her murder here and here and here and here.
While the investigation continues, Kala’s family have rallied to care for her children. Her mother, Thomas, is raising Kala’s oldest children, 8-year-old twins Alay’jah and Ali’jah. Her youngest, 4-month-old twins Sincere and Serenity, are being cared for by Kala’s sister.
Her family contacted me to ask for my help with their planned fundraiser and ongoing need for community support.
The family is hosting a benefit skate July 10, from 7-10 p.m., at the Neville Roller Drome. They’ll be accepting donations (monetary, gift cards, Pampers size 3, Similac NeoSure formula), which will benefit the children.
Donations can also be made here: GoFundMe.
I hope you can turn out on July 10 to show your support for Kala’s family. If not, please consider a donation in any amount. All of us knows that raising four children without their mother will require a lot of sacrifices by Kala’s adult family members. These children deserve to have their needs met and their family deserves to not worry about the financial element, especially in this early stage of collective grief.
This is when community support is critical to help them walk through this space, this period of time where questions outnumber answers. It is almost improbable to think there are no leads in the murder of a young woman left behind her own residence, but the data defies probability. Note: I wrote ‘no leads’ whereas the police have said ‘no suspects’ which are two clearly different things.
According to a Public Source investigation in January, approximately half of the City of Pittsburgh’s murders are unsolved. 97% of the unsolved cases from 2010 to 2015 had a black victim.
How is it that we keep having this circular conversation about there not being witnesses or people willing to testify while other larger cities are solving more homicide crimes? It is too convenient to blame our neighbors for their own problems while we refuse to turn our steely gaze on the institutions involved.
Justice isn’t just about a conviction. It is about the lives of these four children, their entire lives. Do we walk with them or do we sigh and say ‘such a shame’ before we turn back to our own lives?
Meanwhile, Kala’s family is trying to focus on the positive for the sake of her children, a legacy she left for them much too soon. No matter who we are in the community, we can help these four children – even a $5 donation will matter. Maybe we can’t change the institution today, but we can change our connection to the survivors of violent crimes.
For more information on the skate fundraiser, click here or text (412)345-1463.
To make a donation to the crowdfund, click here.
Anyone who has information is asked to call Pittsburgh police at 412-323-7161. Callers may remain anonymous.