A stretch of roadway in Fort Worth was dedicated Saturday in memory of Atatiana Jefferson, a woman who was shot and killed last year by a Fort Worth police officer.
City leaders and community members gathered Saturday near the home along East Allen Avenue where Jefferson was shot through a window and killed by now-former officer Aaron Dean. The stretch of Allen Avenue and Maddox Avenue from Interstate 35W to U.S. 287 was unveiled Saturday as the Atatiana Jefferson Memorial Parkway.
The idea was approved by Fort Worth City Council members two months ago after it was brought up by Jefferson’s neighbor James Smith, who initially called police requesting a welfare check during the morning hours of Oct. 12, 2019.
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“For me, every day is Oct. 12,” Smith said. “As I cross the street to get their mail, I cut their yard, and I cut my yard… I see the two police officers crossing the street as I cross the street.”
Jefferson’s family also attended the unveiling Saturday. Her sister Ashley Carr said the past year has been filled with both dark and bright days. Saturday was nothing short of mixed emotions, she said.
“It’s a happy occasion because my sister is being recognized. Sometimes we feel like she’s one of the forgotten ones in this fight,” she said. “It’s a sad moment, because we have to commemorate a street after her death, not after the successes she was about to embark on if she hadn’t been killed.”
As the family continues to seek justice and change, Carr said Saturday’s move was a small step forward.
“Sometimes we feel like we’re alone but when we have events and people show up, it lets us know we’re not really in this alone. We have somebody helping us push,” she said. “This fight for justice is definitely going to be hard, but it won’t by ourselves.”
The family is raising funds in hopes of purchasing and renovating a building behind the Allen Avenue home where Jefferson was killed. Their goal is to turn it into a community center in Jefferson’s memory by next summer, Carr said.