MILWAUKEE — "Long live Tay" was the message at a memorial service for Quanita "Tay" Jackson on Tuesday. The service drew hundreds to honor her work as a community activist.
Jackson was killed near Moody Park last week, yards away and a day after she had organized a community-wide basketball tournament.
At her Community Baptist Church of Greater Milwaukee, family and friends shared stories of Jackson's positive energy, kindness, musical talent and dedication to making her community better.
Tay's mother, Barbara Thomas, spoke to the congregation, revealing she had spoken to her daughter just hours before her death and did not realize it would be the last time.
"I always let her know that home was home, and she could come back any time she wanted to, whenever she left. I just couldn't leave my daughter out there because of this right here, this was my worst fear," Thomas said.
Thomas praised programs including COA, TRUE Skool and Fresh Empire for allowing her daughter to grow and shine. She thanked the community for all of its support.
"I always let her know that home was home, and she could come back any time she wanted to, whenever she left." — Barbara Thomas, Tay Jackson's mother
"I just hope the rest of these youths utilize these programs because they will help you get to where you are trying to go," Thomas said, "They were helping my daughter. She just wanted to sing, dance, teach, learn and love. And the community had its arms out there wrapped up around my baby."
"She left something; she left an example," said 414 LIFE executive director Derrick Rogers. "Even at the age of 20 that we can all learn from."