By Aqeela Sherrills

My 18-year-old son Terrell was shot and killed by another young person more than eight years ago.

The person who killed Terrell was never arrested. I want him be held accountable, but I don’t think he should go to jail for the rest of his life. I think our children — and all of us — are worth more than that.

That is why I applauded the U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week that declared it unconstitutional to impose mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole on children. We should not give up on people, nor should we suggest that a child’s value can be summed up by his worst act.

I understand how children get into trouble. As a young person, I made plenty of bad decisions.  Growing up in the Jordan Downs housing projects in Watts gave a young person few options. With the lack of youth programs and services, I joined the neighborhood gang. I witnessed things that no young person should. When I was in ninth grade, my good friend Ronzell was shot and killed at school. That was a turning point for me.

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