Kayla Foster, who sought to prevent crime and violence in her southwest Fresno neighborhood, was honored Saturday night after she was shot to death on Memorial Day.
“It shouldn’t just be my baby, it shouldn’t be anyone’s baby that’s bleeding in these streets,” said Aaron Foster, Kayla’s father. “Eight people that I know die every year, at least eight.”
The remembrance of the 18-year-old was held at Bardell and Lorena avenues, near where she was shot to death, and was called the #IamResponsible Candelight Vigil. A call to end gun violence was issued by Aaron Foster, Kayla’s father.
Surrounded by lit candles and “Stop the violence” signs, up to 80 people attended the vigil to support Kayla’s family.
It shouldn’t just be my baby, it shouldn’t be anyone’s baby that’s bleeding in these streets.
Aaron Foster, father of Kayla
Kayla was standing outside with friends in the 2100 block of South Bardell Avenue when she was shot around 2 a.m. Memorial Day. Her father said the shooting was gang related and Kayla was not the target.
Hewants rival gang members to work together. “The only difference between you and the person you shoot at is your address,” he said. “They dress the same, they look the same, they listen to the same music. The culture is the same.”
Kayla’s cousin, JePahl White, said people have to stand up for real action.
Family, friends and community members who spoke said there should be more after-school programs to direct young people into positive activities. They also said police officers need to be more engaged in the community.
“I really appreciate the love they’re showing her,” Aaron Foster said. “But I just don’t want the momentum to die down.”
Mia Keobounleuang, 15, who is Kayla’s sister, would always go to school with her every day.
“We were really close, we told each other everything, we knew everything about each other,” Mia said. “She was always happy and positive.”