However, on Friday night, the teen was hit by a stray bullet several blocks from his home, becoming one of more than a dozen people injured in shootings across the city. He underwent surgery early Saturday and by the afternoon remained in critical condition at Mount Sinai Hospital.
"I don't want to live around in my community where I got to keep on hearing and hearing people keep on getting shot, people keep on getting killed," the seventh-grader, known by friends and family as Zari, said in the public service announcement titled "Black is Human."
The minutelong announcement, a YouTube video, begins with a statement shown on the screen: "The leading cause of death for black boys and teens: Homicide." The statement appears to cite 2013 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.