I met DeQuirea Royal in my second year of Anniston High. We had a class together and we met when she asked me to draw something for her. When she asked, she had the brightest smile I’d seen in a first-period class in my life.
Throughout the rest of my school career, she would seemingly at random pop up with her bright smile and mess with me, maybe just to make me smile. But that’s how I knew her; she would show up at random and brighten my day with her personality.
It’s important for us to not only want justice, but to get justice for her, because she was in a lot of ways a sun for a lot of us here in Anniston. I won’t say she was the brightest star, but she lit up the days of the people she knew. I know because I am one of those people. It’s horrible to imagine that she was taken from this world so soon and for something so ignorant.
If you read the first two little paragraphs you’ll understand why she was important to me even though we weren’t close. Four years after I quit school, I ran into her at the mall and she made the effort to ask how I’d been just like when we were in school. She was a genuinely good person. All we have to do is look around our own town and we’ll see that her level of “real” is rare. That’s why she was important to me, because she was in a lot of ways a model figure from whom I’d hoped others would take notes.