In photos of a young Jeremiah Sterling, a beautiful brown boy smiles from the frames, making life look easy: laughing, playing tough, but with sweetness and mischief in his eyes.
But, according to his mother, that wasn’t exactly so.
“That boy’s been fighting since he got here,” LaWanda Thompson-Sterling says about her son, Jeremiah, who was shot down in the alley across the street from their house on a residential street in West Pullman on July 15.
Odel Sterling, Jeremiah’s father and LaWanda’s ex-husband explains: “Jeremiah was stillborn, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and he lost oxygen, so when he was born he didn’t breathe for 10 minutes before being revived. But I didn’t worry,” says Odel, a pastor, “because God had already showed that he would live.”
They named the boy – LaWanda’s second son, Odel’s first – Jeremiah because “it means `one whom God hears’,” says Odel, “and I wanted God to hear his prayers and his cries, and God did.”