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Two years after her killing, Atatiana Jefferson’s family asks the community to celebrate her life

Three people on ladders work on a colorful mural, featuring Atatiana Jefferson's face, a pink flower, and a strand of DNA.
Miranda Suarez
/
KERA
Artists work on a mural honoring the life of Atatiana Jefferson during a painting event on July 15, 2020. Jefferson was a Black woman killed by a white Fort Worth police officer in her home in 2019.

Several events are planned this weekend to honor the life of Atatiana Jefferson. Former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean is charged with murdering her and is set to go on trial in November.

Tuesday marks two years since the Black Fort Worth resident was shot and killed in her home by a white police officer. Jefferson’s family wants to ensure her life and legacy are not forgotten.

On Saturday, a parade is scheduled in downtown Fort Worth, led by car clubs, step teams and majorettes. On Sunday, there will be a rally at the Atatiana Jefferson mural at the intersection of Evans and Allen avenues, just down the street from where Jefferson was killed.

Ashley and Amber Carr, Jefferson’s sisters, and their nonprofit, The Atatiana Project, are behind this weekend’s events. Ashley said they hope people will remember Jefferson not for the way she died, but for who she was: a young woman who was “fierce and smart at the same time.”

“We want to focus on raising awareness of how great Tay was, and share that with the world,” she said.

In the early hours of Oct. 12, 2019, Jefferson was up playing video games with her nephew when a neighbor saw that her door was open. The neighbor called police for a welfare check, which ended with Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean shooting Jefferson through her window. She was 28 years old.

Dean resigned from the police force and was indicted for murder. Last month, a trial date for the case was set for Nov. 16.

The sisters said they’re happy there’s finally been some progress in the case, but it’s just the beginning.

“We have a date for the trial,” Amber said. “Now we want a conviction.”

Amber said she doesn’t want to call Tuesday the “anniversary” of her sister’s death, she said. It sounds too celebratory. Despite the sadness, though, she said wants people to feel joy and get inspired this weekend.

“It’s supposed to motivate you to get out in the community and make a difference,” she said.

Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.org. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

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