Under a chilly, hard rain Monday morning, family, friends and community leaders designated a small patch of newly laid sod and trees in the heart of Liberty City as Sherdavia Jenkins Peace Park.
Sherdavia, killed by a stray bullet as she played in her front yard almost four years ago, would have been 13 on Monday.
"Your daughter is here. Her spirit is here. She's happy, " Pastor Jerdy Miller told the crowd of almost three dozen who gathered under a covered bus bench.
The little girl's shooting death, on July 1, 2006, proved to be a rare moment that pulled a tattered community together. Local activists, residents, family and church leaders railed against the neighborhood's crime-infested streets. Elected leaders attended ceremonies, and police spared few resources to apprehend the killer of Sherdavia, a stellar student and avid chess player.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Then last December, only three days before Christmas, Damon "Red Rock" Darling was sentenced to 50 years in prison for spraying the assault rifle bullets that killed Sherdavia, who was in the line of fire as Darling tried to take down rival Leroy "Yellowman" Larose.
Monday's procession began with Carib Tribal Queen Catherine Hummingbird Ramirez blessing the mini park, on the southwest corner of Northwest 62nd Street -- Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard -- and 12th Avenue, with incense. Then as sirens wailed in the background and the rain continued to fall, Pastor Miller gave his sermon.
He was followed by Miami Commissioner the Rev. Richard P. Dunn II, who called Monday "a day of mixed emotions because certainly nothing like this should happen in our community.
"At least the name Sherdavia Jenkins will never be forgotten."
After a new picture of Sherdavia was unveiled, neighborhood activist Georgia Ayers passed out a lengthy list of recent homicides, then spoke hauntingly of her own child's gun-related death.
The group, led by Sherdavia's parents, Sheronne and David Jenkins, then streamed east along Northwest 62nd Street to the corner of the busy 12th Avenue intersection, where the park entrance plaque bearing Sherdavia's picture was placed.
With well-wishers huddling under a few umbrellas and others allowing the rain to soak the skin, Dunn pulled back the black sheet that covered the sign welcoming folks to the city's newest park.
On one side, a picture of Sherdavia, smiling. Next to her, a passage calling her a "bright and promising child" who died too soon.
The sign also said Sherdavia was the 16th child to die that year from violent crimes among adults.