Murder victim’s family joins killer’s family to share message of peace
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Students at Knox Middle School in Lincoln Park took a departure from their regular studies Tuesday and instead learned about forgiveness and peace.
The Azim Khamisa Foundation visited the school to teach children about the choices they make and how to learn to forgive.
The foundation started two decades ago after 20-year-old Tariq Khamisa who was delivering a pizza was murdered as part of a gang initiation by 14-year-old Tony Hicks.
Khamisa’s father, Azim, forgave his son’s killer and asked the boy’s grandfather, Ples Felix, to join him in spreading the message of peace to kids which they’ve been doing for 20 years at Hicks Middle School and other schools around San Diego and the country.
“To teach the principles of non violence to teach the principals of empathy, compassion, forgiveness and peacemaking because violence is a learned behavior,” said Azim Khamisa about the foundation’s goals.
“To teach the value of peacemaking in a way that makes their world, their schools, their homes, communities a lot better place for us to be,” said Ples Felix.
Knox Middle School sits just two miles from where Tariq Khamisa died in a neighborhood where many school children say they have known people who died from violence. Khamisa says he believes it’s an important message for kids there and everywhere to hear and he says he thinks children are listening.
“I can tell from the stage they are listening, absolutely absorbing these principles, that gives me a lot of hope,” he said.