Mother of slain Jefferson student struggles with funeral funding


One week ago, 16-year-old Marshawna Williams died when someone shot her outside a Clover Avenue home.

Her family continues to mourn the teen taken too soon by violence. Marshawna’s mother says her daughter’s death has been life-changing. As she comes to terms with her loss, she also faces the financial stress of putting her child to rest.

“Please. I’m just trying to bury my daughter, just put her at peace,” pleads Marshawna’s mother Theresa Cooper. “That’s all.”

Cooper is living every parent’s worst nightmare. She says every day without her daughter is difficult.

“It hurts,” explains Cooper. ” I have my moments where I cry when I’m alone but I have to be strong for my kids.”

Cooper says she never expected to find herself in this tragic situation. Funeral expenses have been so overwhelming their family pushed Marshawna’s funeral until October 4th. Her family is making candles, keychains and other items to raise money.

“I’m a single mom, raising five children,” said Cooper. “It was hard, it is hard. I don’t have all the funds, I don’t have all the answers, but I try to make it work.”

Marshawna’s younger sister Makiyah Williams tries to smile despite her pain. The 15 year-old is also doing her part to help her mom pay for her sister’s burial.

“I take a donation box to school,” said Williams. “[I’m getting] donations from teachers and students.”

Even Marshawna’s former school is doing their part to help the Rockford family.

“Her elementary school, Haskell school, is selling bracelets in honor of her,” said Cooper.

Cooper says she’s blessed for the support she’s received so far and her family will use that to do their best to remember the sunshine Marshawna brought into their lives as they move forward together.

“We [will] just keep the memories alive. Keep Marshawna alive. Do what she’d do, that’s what we’re gonna do.”

A Go-Fund-Me page has been created to help raise money.

A Chase account is also available for donations under ‘Theresa Cooper’.

On Friday, Marshawna will be honored at the Jefferson football game. Students and attendees are being encouraged to wear Williams’ favorite color, purple, and donations boxes will also be available.

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