Honoring his daughter’s legacy by saving other teens
The Nekeisha Foundation, dedicated to murdered Ne’Keisha Hodges-Hawkins, is now officially up and running
By Erica Morse
Publisher, Victims News Online
Updated 9:55 a.m., January 4, 2023
(MICHIGAN CITY, INDIANA) — Nearly 12 years after his daughter died from gun violence, Kalvon Hawkins’ dream of building a youth foundation in his daughter’s honor has become a reality.
It was July 24, 2011, when 17-year-old Ne’Keisha Hodges-Hawkins attended an outdoor birthday party at a park in Michigan City, Indiana when a fight broke out and gunfire began. Keisha, just four days’ shy of her 18th birthday, was caught in the crossfire, struck in the head and killed instantly.
In the days, months, and years following Keisha’s death, her father battled the local police department to make an arrest, as the name of the shooter had been provided to him minutes after his daughter was killed. Local police claim that they did not have enough evidence to make an arrest until 2016, but her father – and local advocates – disagree. It was because of her father’s perseverance – and his public stand to catch his daughter’s killer – that the shooter is now spending 50 years behind bars for murder.
The tension between Hawkins and local police was recently chronicled in Kalvon’s book, Justice for NeKeisha: A Father’s Pain, now available on Amazon, BookBaby, and BarnesandNoble.com. It is also the basis for an upcoming Hulu documentary, set to air this month. But today, it is the foundation which he and his wife, Janice, started in Keisha’s honor, that is front and center, with the official public launch of the Ne’Keisha Nicole “Monster” Hodges-Hawkins Foundation and website.
It is a bittersweet moment for the father who wishes this nightmare never touched his family.
“It hurt to do it”, Kalvon Hawkins told Victims News Online last night. “I would rather have NeKeisha, and I will. But this is my life now, and I accept it”.
The mission of ‘The Ne’Keisha Foundation’ is to address, educate, coordinate and provide aid relief to eradicate crime by youth in our targeted communities and improve the unemployment rate of our youth and young adults. The Foundation is based in Michigan City, Indiana, and has already partnered with like organizations within the community to target at-risk youth.
In addition to the Foundation, Kalvon Hawkins is now an advocate for other parents in his position, who feel they have to solve their own children’s cases. Hawkins routinely receives requests for assistance from other families, advocates and podcasters; most recently, he was asked to assist one of the families in the Idaho murder case, when a father felt law enforcement wasn’t doing enough to bring his daughter’s killer to justice.
Clinton Dunn, the father of missing/murdered Hailey Dunn, utilized Hawkins’ social media template to solve his daughter’s murder in 2021, after 11 years of fighting with law enforcement to make an arrest. The two have become friends over the years, and now work together to help other parents – especially fathers – navigate the overwhelming trauma of having to do law enforcement’s jobs for them.
“We’re the helpers now, the fighters”, Kalvon Hawkins said. “We cry, we scream, we don’t understand why, but we have to fight. God wouldn’t give us this much pain for nothing. The pain and the stress, He wrote for us. It makes us who we are now…the warriors”.
In addition to mentoring at-risk youth, Kalvon Hawkins plans to offer events and other opportunities within the community, to reach teens in Michigan City and surrounding areas before they are exposed to guns and gun violence.
Our coverage of Kalvon’s fight for Keisha may be found here. More information on the Ne’Keisha Nicole “Monster” Hodges-Hawkins Foundation may be found here.