NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Children, no matter how innocent, are not immune to violent crime; they are among the countless number of victims senselessly killed in our community each year.
Centennial Park sits in the heart of Davidson County, but there is a structure you may not find at any other park.
“We felt like a lighthouse was very appropriate because what we are trying to do is to shed a light not only on these lives, but on our community to do better in the future,” said Cathy Gurley with the organization You Have the Power.
The open top of the lighthouse allows light to spill outward and become a beacon at night. The Garden Design was created by Nelson Bryd Woltz Landscape Architects.
The lighthouse holds limestone plaques engrained with the names of children, all taken violently in Davidson County.
“They were here; they were part of our community; it’s also important to remember them so we can perhaps start working together to find a solution so that no other child needs to be remembered here,” said Gurley. “These children were lost too soon.”
The latest volume of “Voices from the Garden,” featured the names of five children who were killed in 2022.
- Abiel Jafet Euceda Castro: May 21, 2009 to Aug. 22, 2022
- Nancy Mariela Choc Hernandez: Nov. 18, 2007 to Oct. 19, 2022
- Deacon Elijah Lane: May 20, 2022 to June 28, 2022
- Dominic J. Pirtle: March 3, 2005 to May 6, 2022
- Malia Januece Powell: Feb. 20, 2008 to June 20, 2022
Other children were lost to violence in 2022, but many of their cases are still under review.
The latest names aren’t just added with how they died, but instead focus on the life they lived. Malia Powell’s family described her as someone who “loved to be around people, and people loved to be around her.”
Dominic Pirtle’s family boasted about his cooking skills, stating, “Honeybun cake, earthquake cake, brownies…you know it, he could bake it.”
“It’s just like anybody talking about just the cute little things that children do and that’s important because again, these children were here, and they are more than how they died,” said Gurley.
You Have the Power works to maintain the area and every year honors the new stories that have to be remembered.
This past weekend, the group held a walk to pay tribute to their lives.
“We are walking for harmony and the other 250 children who are honored in the memory garden,” said Andrea Conte, the founder of You Have the Power, during the walk presentation. “Sixty percent of them have died from gun violence, so whatever we’re doing, we need to figure out how to do better.”
“It’s sort of a paradox because I think of all the pain that went into the families of these children, but it’s also very, very fulfilling because we’re keeping a promise that we made, and that is that these children will be remembered,” explained Gurley.
To view each name that is a part of the Memory Garden, click here. The organization said as a reminder, they do not feature the name of every child in Davidson County who has died as a result of violence. Many cases are still under review.
If you would like your child’s name added, you can find the qualifications by contacting the organization here.