Za'layia Jenkins' Family to Build Peace Garden in her Honor
The family of a nine-year-old girl who was shot to death at home, is using her memory to make something people can enjoy.
"The lot will bring life. It will bring an existence of the vibrant young lady that she is," says Za'layia's cousin Janeen Boone.
It's an idea, sparked from tragedy. Za'layia Jenkins' family says taking their community back starts with facing their heartbreak head-on, in the form of creating a peace garden. It will be right across the street from where the nine year old was gunned down while watching TV.
"We're hoping that people get the understanding and the message. Don't go into to people's communities and start randomly shooting. You have to be mindful of everybody," says Boone.
Za'layia's family, is calling on the community to turn the empty lot, donated by the city, into a place of tranquility and hope.
"A garden is to grow. You plant things and they grow. Unfortunately, Za'layia's life was cut short, so she didn't get that opportunity. The big purpose that we've pushed since this happened is, fighting for the right to grow up," says Za'layia's great-aunt Kameka Simpson.
As the family continues to search for answers in Za'layia's death, they hope the peace garden gives neighbors a sense of pride.
"It may be the person down the street that's never, even heard of Za'layia, but you know what, they're like, I'm going to be out there, and I'm going to be planting. I'm going to be digging, because it means something to my community," says Simpson.
"Za'layia can't live on in her mortal body, but she can live on here," says Boone.
The groundbreaking for Za'layia's Peace Garden is scheduled for August 13 from noon to 6 pm. The family still needs donations and supplies. You can contact Za'layia's aunt Ramona Boone on how you can help at 414-241-1806.