LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — Saturday, Oct. 17, marked a somber anniversary for one Harrisburg man who lost his eyesight after being shot exactly 27 years ago.
Rickey Banks is now a successful 43-year-old who says his purpose is to stop young kids from going down the wrong path and he wants elected leaders to help him.
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October 16th, 1994 was the day that forever changed his life at 13th and Sycamore streets.
“I got caught up in the gun violence. Someone was shooting at someone else and actually shot my car. It hit me from the side of my head,” Banks said.
At 16 years old he spent 90 days in the hospital but survived.
“I had to learn how to walk over again. I had to learn how to eat over again. And I thank my parents for not giving up on me,” Banks said.
27 years later, he travels the country talking about gun violence.
“I thank God he left me here to speak about this gun violence and so I could show the youth in the cities that whatever you’re going through in life you could turn it around,” Banks said.
He says that starts with giving kids a purpose.
“Give these kids something to do. All these abandoned buildings in Harrisburg, let us start gutting them out. It’s to the point where the blind man wants to help them,” Banks said.
And faith leaders at the Pa. Council of Churches, including Dr. Overseer Ragland, want to help Banks in his mission.
“We’re losing generations because of this violence and they act like it’s nothing. It’s nothing, it’s OK,” said Ragland, chief apostle of the Diocese of True Vine Resurrection Temple Worldwide Inc. “They have the funerals over it, say a few words, we’re going to do this. Nobody shows up.”
Banks doesn’t want any parent to have to get the knock on the door that his did, saying their child was wounded or killed.
“When people’s kids get killed in Harrisburg I look at it as they’re my kids too because I know all the kids in Harrisburg,” Banks said.
“The mayors, the chief, the city councils, the state reps, ya’ll see it, ya’ll hear it. I’m asking can ya’ll reach out and help the community?” Banks said.