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In 2019-one year before Shamar's protest-he spent his summer working with children.


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Shamar Betts is a talented young man who once had a bright future ahead of him. After the devastating loss of his mother at age 12, he encountered many more challenges in his life. It was as if the deck was stacked against him.


Nevertheless, he persisted in obtaining his high school diploma, living mostly on his own, and secured his first job working with children as a camp counselor in Urbana, Illinois.


The spring of 2020 was particularly harsh for Shamar. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he lost his job as an after-school leader at the Boys & Girls Club and as a program leader at the park district. He suffered alone in quarantine through the seventh anniversary of his mother's death, and in May of 2020, he witnessed the heinous video recording of George Floyd's murder.


In direct reaction to George Floyd’s murder, Shamar made the most fateful decision of his young life...


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