Artist: Dr. Marietta Dantonio-Madsen
Victim: Erica Elyse Hillyard 6/25/2019
Erica Hillyard, at age 27, was murdered June 25, 2019. Her story was shared with me by her loving mother, Stephanie Johnson. Ericas favorite color was red, and she was a kind hearted person who loved everyone. Erica was an actress, who sang, danced, and acted, and had a dream of going to Hollywood one day. She admired the characters of Disney, and she sang in the choir, was a successful athlete who ran track for her church team. Every year she and her mother would honor her aunt who had breast cancer, giving hope to all. Erica gave birth to two beautiful sons. Her mothers favorite memory of Erica is when Erica gave birth to her first-born son and she took a photo of her mother holding him. I used this image to create the skyline and silhouette of two infants. As the oldest child in her family, she took on the roll of the boss and helped her mother in every way. Erica’s mothers quote says it so clearly “I really miss you; I need your help in so many ways.”
Victim:Madinah- Luisa Fisher 9/22/2020
At the young age of 28 years old, Madinah-Luisa Fisher’s life was cut short by gun violence. Her sister, Taneal Carter shared that Madinah always cared for others. Her passion to help others encompassed her dreams of becoming a mortician to care for peoples departed loved ones. Symbols of being in the medical field and a mortician are represented. A favorite memory of Madinah was when she over came stage fright and sang at a karaoke event. Symbolic image of a person singing highlights this event. Her spiritual beliefs were wiccan and she owned a black cat named “Kitty.” Her favorite color was black. I painted symmetrical images of two black cats to compose a balanced design in the painting. A beautiful life cut short but always remembered. The message from her sister to Madinah is “I miss you. I love you. I wish we had more time.”
Victim: Ojanae Thompson 9/16/2021
Ojanae Thompson was born January 8 and died August 16, 2021 at the age of 19 years old. Her devoted mother is Tiffaney Flynn, who described her daughter as a loving, kind, and responsible young lady who had plans to become a nurse. Due to COVID 19 she never had a graduation ceremony and looked forward to graduating from a university with a degree in nursing. Her favorite color was purple hence, I painted purple lotus flowers showing her path to enlightenment. She was a cheerleader since 5th grade which shows her support of others success. She was like a second mother to her siblings “the Big sister”. Tiffaney’s message to Ojanae is ‘I love you”. It was an honor for me to paint symbolism to represent the beautiful Person, Ojanae Thompson through the eyes of her mother.
Victim: Tamara Johnson 4/12/09
On April 12th, 2009, Tamara Johnson ‘s life ended by gun violence. I had the honor to speak with Tamara’s mother, Terrez McCleary, who shared beautiful memories of her daughter. Tamara’s favorite color was tan hues and she loved rap music. Tamara’s greatest love and focus was for her daughter. Terrez so clearly stated that Tamara’s heart is with her daughter. Tamara was a model with all the beauty that comes with that role. “She lit up a room with her smile when she entered.” When in college, she wanted to become a nurse and to pursue a position in a neo-natal medical department. Her smile brought a closeness for her mother, for which her mother misses. A message left for Tamara from her mother is “How I miss you, I would love to have you back” Love mom. The depth of love from Terrez for Tamara was evident when she described a beautiful memory of Tamara when she was young. Tamara always wanted her shoe laces and her bows to be tied evenly and perfectly. A desire for beautiful accessories even as a baby. May she be remembered always.
Victim: James Walke III
To listen to a mother, describe her beautiful son’s life after his tragic untimely death filled my heart with such compassion. Yullio Robbins has a strength and resilience that few possess. My heart aches for all of the mothers and fathers who are suffering from gun violence family loss. Yullio is a tremendous woman who openly honors her beloved son James. Keeping his memory alive through my painting hopefully teaches others children. James loved the eagles and basketball and played at the Wister community center and the PAL recreational center. He loved his mother’s fried chicken, and was famous for making pancakes for his family. His role model was his uncle Chico who retired from the Army after 50 years of service. James’s dream was to own a construction company, to be a man of integrity and who would be respected. He wanted to become the best person he could be. He was very affectionate and told his mother he loved her every day. His remarkable spirit and soul are evident in his smile which glows with a sparkle in his eyes. Yullio Robbins loving message to her son is ‘I love you and miss you tremendously and only God knows my heart”. It was my honor to commemorate James Walke III.