- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 15, 2013


It’s been a very tough year for Kodi Brown.

Her mom was killed last December.

Her father died a couple of days later.

Smack in the middle of that madness was Kodi.

All she had done was board a bus with her mom on a Sunday when, during an argument, her mom, suspecting things were about to go very wrong, tossed Kodi into a seat and, with the flash of a gun, was killed.

By most accounts, the gunman got off the bus and returned to do the unthinkable — go back and shoot Kodi, too, grazing both of her eyes.

“Hi,” Kodi said to me by phone the other day.

After returning the greeting, I asked Kodi how she was doing.

“Fine,” she responded.

“Are you ready for Santa?” I quickly followed up.

“Yes,” she said, her voice rising a few octaves.

Kodi is one of our littlest victims of domestic violence, only 23 months old when she witnessed her dad mortally wound her mom.

At such a young age, she doesn’t remember everything, which is a blessing in and of itself.

What she does remember though — and is constantly reminded of each day — is that neither of her parents is on God’s green Earth anymore.

Her father committed suicide in New York, and now she’s being raised by her loving grandparents.

As blessed as this little princess is, she’s still physically and emotionally scarred.

“This is the one year anniversary for Cocoa and us,” her grandfather, Officer Derrick Ferguson of the Metropolitan Police Department, said, referring to Kodi by her nickname. “She still cries out for her mother, and we immediately surround her with hugs of love. She might throw a tantrum, as they do at her age. We hug her and tell her everything is going to be all right. She still doesn’t sleep well.”

Officer Ferguson said that he and wife, Roshann, are back to working fulltime following a long stretch after the shooting when they worked part-time four-hour shifts to make sure one or both of them was always home.

“Sometimes she doesn’t fall like to sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning,” he said, calling her a “sleeping princess.”

“She loves pink, princess pink, and she loves dressing like a princess,” he said.

Kodi also coddles her toys and “loves to lead her 5- and 9-year-old uncles in prayer,” her grandfather said.

Like most parents, Officer Ferguson and his wife give Kodi plenty of TLC and are also trying to heal her physical scars. The bullet shot by her father left both of her eyes scarred and swollen — as if he had tried to shut them tight forever and always.

She’s had medical procedures, and specialists tell the family she’ll likely need up to four more to restore her eyesight and erase the scarring. People poured their hearts prayers out to the family and became a community of givers on behalf of Kodi.

Kodi and her family are still in need.

On Christmas Day, Santa and his big helpers have decided that Kodi will be the first ever honoree at their 17th annual Christmas Day Dinner at Torrie’s Restaurant at Seventh and V streets Northwest near the 9:30 Club.

Owned and organized by John Goodwin, and supported by WPFW-FM and on-air personality Rhozier “Roach” Brown and other volunteers, the helpers’ plan is for Kodi to be treated like the princess she is.

“We pay for this out of our own pockets,” Mr. Brown said. “Oftentimes, we forget about domestic violence victims and their families after time. We have a warm spot in our hearts for little kids like Kodi. She could be anybody’s child.” Torrie’s free Christmas dinner fed about 1,000 people last year and “because of the economy we’re expecting many more,” Mr. Brown said.

At this juncture, I make a disclaimer: I am a cohost of the weekly “D.C. Politics” program on WPFW, and regularly break bread with friends, family and sources at Torrie’s. (My mouth is watering just thinking of the smothered pork chops.)

Mr. Brown is correct: Kodi “could be anybody’s child.”

Indeed, she became ours the instant she became a victim of domestic violence.

Acknowledge the problem, claim the child and offer help.

It takes a village.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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