‘Stop the Violence’: Family leads march in remembrance of Ryan Bost


Max Lubbers/Daily Senior Staffer

A Bost family member wears a pink hoodie with Ryan Bost’s name and “21,” the age he would have turned this year. Community members circle up to support Ryan Bost’s family a year after he was killed.

Max Lubbers, City Editor

Content warning: This story contains mentions of gun violence. 

Family and friends marched in remembrance of Ryan Bost on Saturday, calling for justice after his death and to stop violence in the community. 

20-year-old Bost was shot to death in Rogers Park last November, and his killing remains unsolved. Bost, an Evanston Township High School basketball star, was well-loved by his family and community, said his mother Schawanda Bost.

“He was a stand-up person, a loving person,” she said. “He cared about everybody.”

After holding a moment of silence and listening to a prayer, community members marched from the Bost family house to near the ETHS football field. The family led the march, followed by ETHS basketball players, cheerleaders and other community members and friends. 

As they walked, they chanted: “Ryan Bost! Justice!” “Shut it down!” and “No justice! No peace!” Leading the chants was Justin Blake, a relative of the Bost family. Blake is also an uncle of Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed last year after Kenosha Police Department officer Rusten Sheskey shot him.

When the marchers arrived near the football field, they circled up. 

“We’re in this circle today as a supportive ring of love and unity for the Bost family,” Blake said. “We want to show the world that there’s more people who want to end the violence so that our young people can be everything they can be.”

Ryan’s life was profound, and it was cut too short, Blake said. 

An ETHS 2019 graduate, Ryan was smart both in the classroom and on the court, Schawanda told The Daily. He tried to pass that intelligence and work ethic down, mentoring younger children through the school district and coaching them at the YMCA, she said, and all of the kids loved him.

“He was the greatest son you could think of,” she said. “He always had a smile on his face and never gave us any problems.”

Ryan was also a third-generation ETHS basketball player. While he was on the roster, the team advanced downstate twice and played in its first state championship game since 1984.

Now, Schawanda said his brother Rashawn follows in Ryan’s footsteps and dons Ryan’s jersey number: 24.

“Last year, when he first played, it was hard because he reminded me so much of Ryan on the court,” she said. “This season, I’m sure, is going to be the same way. He’s trying to make his brother proud — he’s hoping that he can get downstate and win the championship game.”

She said words can’t describe the loss of Ryan, but she’s always working to make sure the community remembers him. For his birthday in October, friends and family released balloons in his memory, she said. Earlier this year, his former elementary school named a gymnasium after him.

Through Saturday’s march, she said the Bost family wanted to emphasize how important it is to stay peaceful, especially after recent gun violence in Evanston. 

“People these days now want to use guns instead of talking it out,” she said. “When I was growing up, we didn’t have to go through all that. We feel like Evanston would be a better place if they all put these guns down.”

Blake spoke directly to the young people in attendance, who made up a significant portion of the crowd. He said he wants the little girls to grow up to become cheerleaders and the cheerleaders to grow up to become CEOs. He added he hopes the young men will become positive lights in their communities.

In return, Blake said older generations will continue to fight for a more peaceful future, too. 

“All of these people believe in you young people and love y’all,” Blake said. “We, as responsible adults, are trying to do our best to make a good, prosperous, safe community for you. We see what’s happening and we’re accepting the challenge and making the change.”

Blake finished his speech by asking the crowd to shout one last chant: “We love you, Bost family!”

Schawanda said it was overwhelming to see so many people gather to march and support her family. The outpour of love gave her joy, she said.

“I was really nervous and emotional, but now I’m feeling like I did something,” she said. “I want to keep Ryan’s name alive.”

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