– by Michael Caputo, Staff Writer –
Democrat and Chronicle.
Nearly a year after her son was killed on Fulton Avenue, Joy Powell refuses to remain quiet.
At about 3 p.m. Sunday, Powell and about two dozen other people planted a white stone on the curb near Fulton Avenue and Phelps Avenue, where her 18-year-old son was slain. “R.I.P. David Wright 12/82-8/01, May God Bless You. We Love You,” the marker read.
Plenty of changes have occurred on this embattled city street since last summer. The city has closed and torn down suspected drug houses, worked to improve lighting and stepped up police patrols.
Powell would like to think that her protests have prodded officials to keep watch.
“They’ve done a lot here since my son got killed,” she said. “But there’s still problems. It seems like every other day there is something.”
Something means homicides. There were 41 killings in Rochester last year and 22 homicides so far in 2002, said Marion Walker, president of the Tyshaun Cauldwell Memorial Foundation, named for the 10-year-old boy killed last year. The group works to mobilize people against violence.
“What we’ve got to do is step up and say no to this,” said Walker, on his knees digging a hole for the stone.
After a brief ceremony, the group marched up Fulton Avenue, singing “We Shall Overcome” and chanting “down with dope, up with hope.”
Powell, a microphone in hand and a small amplifier carried behind her, told people on their porches about her son’s death and another son’s injury by gunfire. Police said David Wright was selling drugs when he began arguing with Andre Lamar Parson Aug. 13. Powell said her son was shot because he was defending his family’s honor. Parsons received 28 years to life for the shooting in May.
Cars slowed and crept around the marchers as they walked Fulton Avenue and turned left on Emerson Street. She urged people in their homes to come out and join the march.
“There is nothing to be afraid of,” she said. Few joined in.
The marchers finished where they started, at the white stone marker.
Powell announced that the foundation will meet at Joseph Avenue and Avenue D on Tuesday to deal with an area known as a drug haven.
“We got to draw attention to this cause.” she said.