Jelani Irving wasn’t a boisterous child. His sister Imani said he was quiet and serious, intelligent and creative. Growing up, Jelani was close to Imani and his other sister, Asha, despite their different personalities.
“He saved me as ‘Real Feel’ on his phone because I express my emotions a lot,” Imani laughed. “But he never got into his emotions. He was sensitive but he focused on solutions.”
Jelani graduated from high school with honors before enrolling at Medgar Evers College, where he was pursuing a creative writing degree. He worked various jobs to pay his way, from manager of his mom’s day-care center to a driver of double decker tourist buses. On the night he died, he was returning home from a shift as a yellow cab driver, a job he had started two weeks earlier.
“I always say I lived through him because he was always out there and had such great stories,” said Imani. “I thought he was invincible.”
This collision happened on February 2, 2014 near Washington Avenue and Classon Avenue in Brooklyn. See details in the Mean Streets Tracker.