• Lynda Cohen

Vigil honors 15-year-old girl killed in Atlantic City

Updated: Mar 12

At one point the sobs filled the night air. Teenage girls crying for the loss of their friend. A mother broken beyond words. Several people gathered Friday night outside the Atlantic City house where a young girl was found dead. Naimah Bell, 15, was shot in the head allegedly by Nahquil Lovest, an Pleasantville resident who recently turned 18. “We love you Naimah!” the group yelled as children released balloons into the sky. Her mother especially wanted the children at the event, especially teenagers. She is not ready to talk about her loss, but wanted to make sure her daughter’s peers were there. Bell is the third teenager to die in the city this year from gun violence.

What will save Atlantic City’s youth?

The woman who has been organizing weekly “My City Needs Prayer” rallies spoke instead. Usually, she doesn’t give her name, not wanting to be the focus. “Lonniyell the Community,” she replied to those who asked her full name. “I have been doing the movement on Mondays for things just like this,” she told the gathering. “This was an innocent baby taken away from us. We want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to many of you young people out here.” Several women who have lost loved ones gathered quietly, talking about what can be done. There need to be counselors at the schools focusing on mental health. But there aren’t enough, especially those that the kids will trust and open up to, they say. They’re still not giving up. For her part, Lonniyell has changed this Monday’s “My City Needs Prayer” event to a march. It will begin at the Shiloh Baptist Church at 701 Atlantic Ave. at 6 p.m., and will continue into Back Maryland. “Each one, reach one,” she said. “Now is the time that we reach out to each other.”


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