A campaign to raise money for the care of Atatiana Jefferson’s two nephews is nearing its goal. Family, friends, and a host of supporters have flooded a GoFundMe.com account that has raised more than $350,000.
Their hope is to hit the $450,000 goal to help pay for a home for the boys and their caretaker after the death of their mother.
Amber Carr, Jefferson’s sister and the mother of Zion, 11, and Zayden, 7, died on Monday, Jan. 30.
Zion made headlines as the sole eyewitness to his aunt’s fatal shooting in October 2019, testifying during the December trial of her killer, former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean.
His mother, despite suffering from congestive heart failure, was also at the trial until her health regressed in such a way that she was no longer able to attend the last days of the trial.
Only hospitalization stopped her from being there to witness Dean’s conviction on manslaughter charges. The 33-year-old was told she was ineligible for a much-needed heart transplant before she succumbed to her illness.
After Carr’s transition her children were left in the care of her sister, Ashley Carr. The funds being raised in the crowdfunding effort are to secure a new home for her two sons and their new guardian.
The post says all of the funds gathered during the fundraiser would “go directly to Ashley Carr (Auntie to Zion & Zayden as well as the executor of the estates of Atatiana Jefferson, Yolanda Carr [mom] and Amber Carr [sister]).”
Zion and Zayden are gearing up to not only move in with their aunt Ashley but change cities. Ashley’s current apartment in Houston is too small to accommodate them all, but with the monies raised, according to Lee Merritt, the estate’s attorney, the family will be able to purchase a house for them to all live in Dallas.
The money will also help Ashley adopt the two boys. These concerns are not just a worry of the adults in the boys’ lives, but also for Zion, who is already in therapy surrounding the circumstances of his aunt’s death.
“Zion has expressed anxiety about where he is going to live and wanting the stability of a home,” the GoFundMe profile read. “This is not the kind of thing an 11-year-old should be worried about as he prepares to bury his mother.”
Since the GoFundMe started on Dec. 4, it has seen nearly 10,000 people contributing. The desire is to reach $450,000.
Merritt posted on Instagram a request on his birthday, hoping his followers would all donate at least $1.
He captioned, “This is my birthday wish for anyone wanting to send a gift. Should cost about $450K in this market. We have already raised almost $130K so only 320K to go. If everyone gives $1.00, we can get this done today.”
The lawyer took to social media again with another push for supporters to help secure the new residence. He said, “We are going to make it and this beautiful family will live in a home purchased by LOVE!”
Carr was laid to rest on Friday, Feb. 10 at Friendship-West Baptist Church. Family members described her as fun-loving and a fashionista, mentioning how strong she was until the very end. Minister Dominique Alexander, the officiant of the homegoing said, “She fought all the way to the end.”
She not only fought her disease but also for her sister’s killer to be held accountable for her death.
“Amber was integral in contributing to developing, equipping, empowering, and mentoring our young, female future leaders,” one speaker said to the group of mourners that included civil rights activists, clergy, Fort Worth City Council members, state lawmakers, community stakeholders, and relatives, WFAA reported.
On elected officials, Rep. Carl Sherman of the Texas House of Representatives, said, “When Atatiana lost her life, the family is experiencing that loss over and over again. The state of Texas can do better. And I know with your advocacy, we will do better.”
Even school representatives stepped up with words of encouragement to the family. In a prepared statement, a staffer from Mesquite ISD spoke to Carr and Jefferson’s loved ones, saying, “We cannot replace your mother, nor your sister, but we will attempt to demonstrate our love for you every single day in our care.”
Ashley Carr also spoke. Her words were directed to her beloved sister in a loving tribute. Her words were powerful and simple, “I pray I bring a smile to your face as I watch over Zion and Zayden.”