More than 1,000 honor Atatiana Jefferson’s legacy in parade through downtown Fort Worth
See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Megan Cardona here.
More than 1,000 people participated in the “Pull Up for Tay” parade Saturday in downtown Fort Worth in honor of Atatiana Jefferson, nearly two years after her death.
The crowd made a loop from the Fort Worth Convention Center to the Tarrant County Courthouse and back. Music blasted from vehicles, young girls from dance studios performed as they walked and people held signs in support of Jefferson.
Amber Carr, Jefferson’s sister, said the parade was a community effort and included people from outside the state as well. Having support beyond Texas felt great despite the sad occasion that brought them together, she said.
“We need a burst of happiness in the midst of day-to-day activities and try to remain normal, whatever the normal is,” she said. Jefferson, 28, was shot and killed in her home by former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean on Oct.12, 2019 . Nearly two years later, a murder trial date has been set for Dean starting Nov. 16.
Carr said the last two years have been filled with anticipation and anxiety, waiting for the trial date to be set. Carr is the mother of 10-year-old Zion, who was playing video games with Jefferson the night his aunt was shot. Since the death of her sister, followed by her mother in January 2020, the day-to-day for Carr and her family has been different, but she said they’re pushing through. Zion is still a typical kid who enjoys video games and basketball, but there are moments when he’s affected by the memory of what happened, Carr said. “He talks about Aunt Tay whenever he feels like he wants to remember something or rekindle something or ‘Oh remember a time when …’ type situation,” Carr said. During the parade, a beaming Zion sat in the front passenger seat of a bright blue Corvette with two yellow stripes down its sides. As the car pulled to the finish of the parade route, he smiled and waved to his mother, who was watching from the sidewalk. Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Jefferson and her family, walked in the parade and said he was glad to see a large crowd come out in support. Showing up for events like the parade is important to the trial, Merritt said, because it keeps people invested in the outcome instead of moving on.
With a trial date set, he said it was a huge relief for the family. Merritt said but he is confident in evidence of the case. “We know the facts are the facts, the evidence is compelling and the right outcome should be a murder conviction,” he said. Dominique Alexander with the Dallas-based social justice organization Next Generation Action Network took up the front of the parade with some of his group’s members shouting “Say her name” as they walked in downtown. The parade was another way to continue Jefferson’s legacy and remember her, he said, and his group was excited to join in support. He said the great thing about having a large turnout for the parade was the opportunity to continue to grow the support and do the work that’s needed to bring justice for Jefferson.
“This is how legacies are started, this is how [traditions continue] and I’m excited about starting a tradition of “Tay Day” in Fort Worth,” Alexander said.