Domestic violence leaves 21-year-old caring for five children | People
The five children of the late Tashuner Dixon struggled to keep their candles lit on a cold Memphis night.
They gathered with extended family and friends to remember Ms. Dixon, the 37-year-old mother who was gunned down at 276 Butler south of downtown Memphis on Nov. 14, 2011.
“I try not to cry at school when I think of my mother," Charles Dixon, age 11, said as family members encircled the boy and his siblings.
All five of Ms. Dixon’s children - Diamond, now age 5, Willvarius, 9, Charles, Jasmine, 16 and Nakita, 21 - gathered on the parking lot where Tashuner fell one year ago.
They prayed, sang “Amazing Grace” and cupped their hands around candles near a mostly abandoned and boarded up apartment complex.
Friends tacked a new crop of stuffed animals on a utility pole where weathered ones have hung for a solid year. It is how many Memphians grieve violent crime, leaving visible markers as a sign of love for the fallen.
“I think of my mother now as my guardian angel," said eldest daughter Nakita.
The 21year-old has a young child and takes responsibility for her four younger siblings.
“I’m grateful an arrest was made so quickly,” said Nakita of the case against 45-year-old Willie James Irby, Jr.
It was a case of domestic violence.
Police say Tashuner Dixon died at the hands of her boyfriend. Irby remains in jail on a charge of first degree murder. Read more about the muder here.
“We are still grieving,” said Nakita.
The vigil was held just feet away from a garbage dumpster where a three-year-old child’s body was discovered earlier this year. Maurice Brown, Jr. went missing in July 2012.
The boy’s father, Maurice Brown, Sr. is now charged in the case.
Mourners at the Tashuner Dixon candlelight vigil placed a candle near the dumpster in the boy’s memory.
Ironically, both tragedies occured within sight of Clayborn Temple, a center of activity for America's greatest disciple of non-violence, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King started marches for striking Memphis sanitation workers in 1968 at the now shuttered Memphis church.