Families march for slain kin

Families march for slain kin
Photo by Chrisitna Santucci
By Rebecca Henely

About 40 people, most of whom lost a friend or a family member to gun violence, marched in Hollis Saturday in honor of victim Terrell Fountain, 18, who was shot to death in June 2011, two days after his graduation from high school.

“A lot of children are dying,” said Fountain’s mother, Brigitte Hoggard, “and they’re forgotten after being shown [on the news] for a week or so.”

The march began at Henderson Avenue and 189th Street and traveled south on Farmers Boulevard until it ended with speeches and music at Liberty Triangle near Liberty Avenue and 109th Road. A few neighbors came out to watch as the group of people, many of whom wore shirts with pictures of Fountain in his blue graduation robes, walked by chanting phrases like “Peace up, guns down” and “Live in peace.”

“All these people out here lost loved ones to senseless violence,” said Taylonn Murphy.

Murphy’s daughter, Tayshana, an 18-year-old star basketball player, was killed Sept. 11 in Manhattan’s Grant Houses.

Fountain was killed June 26, 2011, as he was walking home from a party. He had graduated two days earlier and had a scholarship to go to Sullivan County Community College.

Hoggard held the march with Shenee Johnson, founder of the organization Life Support, which helps the families of murder victims. Johnson’s son, Kedrick Ali Morrow, 18, was shot in Springfield Gardens in May 2010.

“All of us mothers and parents, we give each other a great support,” Johnson said.

Hoggard was also joined by Shanta Merritt. Merritt’s son Darryl Adams 18, was shot in the same attack that killed Fountain, then he was murdered in another shooting in Jamaica Houses this March.

“I’m doing everything to support her,” Merritt said of Hoggard. “I’m doing everything I can, because I’m still mourning my son.”

After the march, the participants continued their rally at Liberty Triangle with music, poetry and stories of their loved ones. Hoggard described her son as a young man who had turned his life around and had a bright future ahead of him before he was killed.

“It’s just senseless what’s going on,” she said.

One marcher, Talia McFadden, described losing her brother Tony, 26, to a shooter as a pain that never goes away. She encouraged members of the community to help end the “epidemic” of gun violence.

“We need to stick together,” she said. “Don’t wait until it hits your home.”

Johnson said the organization comes together to help families during the their loved one’s birthdays and the anniversaries of their deaths.

“This is one organization that we don’t want to grow, and each month we get more and more,” she said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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