RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Tuesday marks one year since 9-year-old Markiya Dickson was shot and killed at a Memorial Day cookout in Richmond. On Monday, Dickson’s parents organized a special car ride in her honor.
Memorial Day is about honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, with many spending the holiday weekend with friends and family. For the Dickson family it will always be a painful memory of the day their daughter was suddenly and senselessly taken away.
Mark Whitfield and his family were at Carter Jones Park celebrating Memorial Day last year when shots rang out. A stray bullet hit his daughter Markiya Dickson, and she eventually died at the hospital.
“It’s like the day replay everyday in my head,” Whitfield told 8News Monday. “It’s been hard on us. I couldn’t even tell the camera, nobody how it feel because it’s unexplainable, but you go down a dark hole.”
Whitfield says he frequently visits Carter Jones Park to feel closer to his daughter.
“Everyday I go to that park, it’s like I’m beside her, I’m with her. Ima tell you, the hardest part is going to the graveyard,” he explained.
Turning their anguish into activism, Dickson’s parents organized a car ride in her honor. Roughly 70 cars, decorated with stickers and balloons, packed into the Rose’s parking lot on Mechanicsville Turnpike.
“Nine and 10-year-old kids and 3-year-old kids dying because of gun violence it just really tugs at your heart,” said Latasha Kenney, one of the people who attended Monday’s car ride.
During the car ride, people drove through the city’s public housing neighborhoods in solidarity for Dickson, keeping her name alive and a call to stop the violence.
“I can’t save the world but in numbers we can do a lot,” Whitfield said. “We need to put our guns down and use our head. Out of the nine years I experienced my baby, it’s been real. She taught me a lot. I know she knew she was loved and she loved people.”
The City of Richmond is in the process of renovating Carter Jones Park where Dickson will have a special section dedicated to her. Dickson’s family told 8News that they will place her headstone on her grave with close friends and family on Tuesday.
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