Strolling memorial honors gun violence victims in Detroit
Detroit – More than four years have passed since Jada Rankin was killed in a drive-by shooting, and her mother, Tawanna Rankin, keeps her ghost alive by honoring other victims of gun violence.
On Sunday, Rankin celebrated Jada’s birthday with a strolling memorial that showed photos of victims of gun violence in Palmer Park, Detroit.
15-year-old Jada was killed at a family reunion by a man who shot a gun as he sped through a neighborhood in 2016.
“I wanted to fold … but the more I stood, the more I heard that there was more murders out there, more kids, more mommies like me who came up to me and said, ‘What am I doing’?” Said Rankin. “I didn’t know what to do. There is no rule book … but you have to surround yourself with people who love you.”
Rankin, with the help of other 75 photos of victims of gun violence, whose cases have been solved and unsolved, placed around a pavilion in Palmer Park and along Covington Drive adjacent to the park. The photos stayed on Sunday until the end of the day.
Rankin said she plans to make the memorial an annual event and hopes it can take place on Belle Isle next year.
Rankin started a not-for-profit organization, Justice for Jada, in 2017 to support those affected by gun violence. Since Jada’s death, the nonprofit has hosted other events to highlight gun violence in the city, including a 2018 ride for justice with dozens of motorcyclists.
“We have dollars in Lansing for survivors, victims and families, and those dollars must ensure that they are received right here in our community for our survivors,” said Senator Sylvia Santana, Memorial Sunday D-3. “So I’ll keep fighting hard for politics and legislation … to make sure we can’t bring our loved ones back, but we can heal beyond the pain.”
Families crowded for photos of loved ones, including the family of Casey Willis, 18, a Wayne State college student who was killed on December 26th. Rankin said she selected Willis to be the Justice for Jada Scholarship recipient last summer before Willis started in Wayne State.
A mother, whose son and cousin were killed in 2011, said the solution to gun violence is to get residents more involved in local government and legislation.
“You have to put your voice into action,” said Mia Reid, a Detroit mother who lost her son Charles W. Reid, 24, to gun violence. “… When you show up, it inspires other people to show up, and the more people show up, that brings awareness and awareness attracts the attention of the people who actually do the bills and make the laws. We want change in that We want to vote for a change in legislation. “
Jada, a student at Sterling Heights High School, left her grandmother’s home on the 14,300 block of Ardmore after a birthday party at 2 a.m. on October 16, 2016 when a vehicle sped down the street, authorities said. Rankin’s brother warned the driver to slow down.
The driver stopped, opened his car door, and fired shots into the crowd. Jada died in Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit.