VPM Daily Newscast: Sept. 26, 2022
The VPM Daily Newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Episodes are recorded the night before.
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This week, VPM News is exploring ways Virginians are trying to curb the devastating effects of gun violence in our communities and how they’re learning to heal.
Our special series, “Another Way,” starts with the story of a 17-year-old student from Richmond’s George Wythe High School. Samiyah Yellardy was shot and killed in her own home in April.
VPM News reporter Megan Pauly spoke with her mother, who reflects on her daughter’s life, loss and hopes for the future.
I spoke with Akeyia Pernell in her home in August, the same home where Samiyah was killed a few months earlier. She told me about her daughter:
I got tired of calling her Maya at an early age. So it was MahMah. It’s different from Maya, you know, so? She’s different, unique, very unique.
She was always outstanding, her smile bright. She bright. She not doing what the crowd doing.
She always had friends and they just knock on the door: MahMah coming out? Can I speak to MahMah? Everybody loved my baby. Everybody.
One of my favorite memories is kind of weird but it’s my favorite. Me and her was on this couch crying. She had her first heartbreak, and I was going through a breakup. We crying, we hating men right now.
So both of us crying on the couch, and I’m just talking to her telling her what to expect, what not to do, the dos and the don’ts. So her little sister come downstairs: what y’all crying for?
We look at her and said: don’t get no boyfriend! I thought that was so cute.
The day Samiyah was killed, Akeyia was out of town in New Orleans. But she had been checking in with her daughter throughout the day and night.
I got the call. And that was the most…I couldn’t do nothing else but get in the fetal position and just cry. I cried for hours and hours and hours, the whole ride home. I couldn’t get home fast enough. And then my flight got delayed. This is the worst situation I’m living through. I don’t want it to be like this. And if I can help, I wanna do that. I’ve been through a lot of things in my life where I can relate to a lot of situations. And I’ve made it through them situations. And this is the worst situation that I think anybody’s ever going to face in their life if they got kids.
I asked her: what she thinks Samiyah would have wanted people to know.
Put them guns down. Put the guns down. It’s other ways, it’s other focuses that we can focus on. Especially if she can talk from heaven, I already know she mad about that. She mad that she had to go out like she did, never expected something like that. Now they’re taking it too far with the gun violence. You coming in peoples’ houses and things, you know. Really? There’s other ways, there’s other ways.