It was late in the morning of October 20, 2021.
The first of two days of the new year’s celebrations, Missouri was still reeling from the horrific death of a young man named Jordan Williams.
His mother had been shot and killed.
Her boyfriend had been arrested and charged with murder.
A police report indicated Jordan was suffering from schizophrenia.
He was found in the basement of his mother’s apartment.
A judge ordered him to stay in the hospital, where he was taken to a psychiatric ward.
Jordan was in a wheelchair and barely able to walk.
He had severe cerebral palsy, which left him unable to walk or talk.
His family struggled with how to support him while in hospital.
Jordan’s mother was the only person who could care for him.
But there was no one to help him.
After two months in the mental health facility, Jordan was discharged.
He never regained his normal life.
His sister and his girlfriend, a black man named Joshua Simmons, were able to help Jordan’s family cope.
The family took Jordan to an event at a local church, where Simmons helped Jordan get through his own grief.
Jordan attended that same church again the next week.
Jordan felt safe and cared for, Simmons told me.
They decided to take Jordan to the Missouri State Fair to celebrate his new birthday.
They went through the same routine every year: Jordan’s parents brought him to the fair.
Jordan would be taken to the St. Louis Convention Center.
On the day of the fair, Simmons was able to get Jordan to St. Charles for a celebration.
At the fairgrounds, Jordan’s father, Michael Simmons, had his family watch the fireworks.
Simmons, who is African American, sat in the back of the family car as the fireworks were going off.
He and his son drove Jordan to a nearby convenience store and bought a bottle of champagne.
Jordan went back to his mother, who sat in her car as she watched the fireworks go off.
She drove Jordan and Simmons home.
When Jordan returned to Missouri, he was arrested and released from the hospital.
When I visited Simmons’ home in Missouri, it was a peaceful, peaceful place.
He said his son was a good kid who was just a little different.
He loved his family.
He would not say much about his son’s condition, other than that he was in the care of his parents.
But he did tell me about the day Jordan Williams died.
Simmons said his sons brother had gone into a store, and he saw Jordan and his sister walking down the aisle.
He grabbed Jordan and pulled him into the backseat.
Jordan, still in the wheelchair, began to cry.
Simmons recalled telling Jordan, “You’re in trouble, you know?
It’s the end of your life.”
Jordan, in his wheelchair, was in shock.
Simmons went to the police.
Jordan had been placed in the foster care system, where his parents, the Simmons family, and other black families were separated from Jordan.
The only place for Jordan was the foster home.
Jordan didn’t speak a word of English.
He spoke little, and the foster system did not take into account the language skills of Jordan.
Jordan and a foster mother, Jessie, were placed in a foster home in suburban St. Joseph, Missouri.
The foster home, which was located next door to the Simmonss family, was not equipped to care for Jordan’s physical needs.
The house was crowded with black people, many of whom lived in trailers.
Jordan spent most of his time at the home.
Jessie Simmons said her son’s problems were exacerbated by the racism that was prevalent in Missouri’s foster care and juvenile justice system.
Jessie Simmons told a friend, “It was like a prison.
We were all in the same prison, we were all getting locked up.”
Jessie Simmons explained to me, “He was locked in his room and was in and out of prison a lot, so we had no way of talking to him, or giving him the time of day or anything.
We would go outside and sit and watch the stars.
When I would look at him, he would be in the middle of his room, crying.
When Jessie Simmons and her son visited Jordan’s home, they told him that he would never be able to go back to St Charles. “
We didn’t have much money to take him back home.”
When Jessie Simmons and her son visited Jordan’s home, they told him that he would never be able to go back to St Charles.
Jessie said that she wanted to give Jordan a place where he could learn to speak English and make friends.
She and Jordan met a foster family in St. James, Missouri, where she said Jordan began to understand more about how people looked at him.
Jordan began reading books about black culture and began to gain confidence.
He began writing poetry.
In January of 2018, he began living with a foster parent, a woman named Jasmine Bessette.
Bessettes foster son was incarcerated in St Louis County Jail