Kieva Hooks, a young, single mother was charged with the murder of her own mother in a home they shared in Columbia Heights. While many questions surrounding this tragic incident remain unanswered, what is known with all certainty is that, as a result, the lives of three people have been ruined: Kieva, her mother, and her nine- year-old daughter.
Sadly, this is not an uncommon story in some of the most disadvantaged communities throughout the DC region. According to an analysis by Washington Area Women’s Foundation of the American Community Survey, the District of Columbia has exceptionally high poverty rates (41.3 percent) among female-headed households with children. As it happens, Kieva was among this most vulnerable population.
Kieva attempted to turn her life around by enrolling in a Goodwill training program funded by Washington Area Women’s Foundation several years ago that provided her with marketable job skills and supportive services ultimately leading to successful employment. However, transitioning from a life of struggles to one of independence is a difficult path fraught with detours.
Because Kieva had been served by both Goodwill and The Women’s Foundation, the words and the despair that jumped off the pages of the Washington Post article had new meaning to us. This was not just “another article” about a faceless tragedy. This was a life we had touched.
As a society, we should all feel the pain and anger that come with senseless acts of violence. Incidents like this one should give us greater resolve to take the actions necessary to influence change so that there are fewer outcomes like Kieva’s.
Margaret Meade once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Goodwill, Washington Area Women’s Foundation and numerous other strong charitable agencies in and around Washington, DC stand ready to provide assistance when necessary. But we need the commitment of our community, both the public and private sectors, to help address the needs of the most vulnerable.
So we end with this question: Will you stand by us as we continue to work to change the outcomes for people like Kieva, her mother, and her daughter? Indeed, you’re the only ones who can.
President & CEO
Goodwill of Greater Washington
President & CEO
Washington Area Women’s Foundation