Friends and family of Tara Romero, the Sobrato High School freshman who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Morgan Hill Nov. 4, 2011, have created a nonprofit called “Everyone’s Child, the Tara Romero Youth Empowerment Project,” to raise money for a public art project in honor of Romero and other fallen teens in the community.
The nonprofit will also work to raise money, on an ongoing basis, for youth scholarships, nonprofit youth organizations and other local groups that share the new nonprofit’s vision, according to Everyone’s Child executive director Lisa Washington.
“Our mission is to support the right of ‘everyone’s child’ to envision and achieve their dreams in a peaceful, non-violent community,” Washington wrote in a press release announcing the creation of the nonprofit. “To that end, our dedicated team is contributing time, talent, resources and funding to events and activities that give voice to our teens, encourage growth and development, and promote peace, unity and social awareness.”
The effort to create the nonprofit, which was formed under the umbrella of the Morgan Hill Community Foundation, started earlier this year when Romero’s family asked the city for permission to erect a bronze sculpture depicting the teen’s likeness and place it in a public location such as outside the Community and Cultural Center or Morgan Hill Library.
Everyone’s Child will conduct fundraisers throughout the next year to pay for the sculpture, in partnership with the city and its library, culture and arts commission, Washington said. Those upcoming fundraisers include a raffle for a custom-built 1923 Ford Low Boy Roadster, which was given to Romero, 14, by her father Joseph Romero when she was 10 years old.
When completed, the sculpture will not just be a tribute to Romero.
“Equally important, it will serve as an inspirational symbol of peace, in the face of inexplicable tragedy, for the young people growing up in our community today,” Washington said.
Tara Romero was killed in a drive-by shooting on the corner of Cosmo and Del Monte avenues. Three other teens – all friends of Romero’s and fellow Sobrato students at the time – were injured by the gunfire.
Police think the alleged shooters committed the crime for an illegal street gang they belonged to. However, the victims of the shooting were not gang-affiliated, and were mistakenly targeted by the suspects. Romero and her friends were merely waiting for a ride home from a birthday party when the shooting happened.
The Morgan Hill Community Foundation was “thrilled” to help Romero’s friends and family form the “Everyone’s Child” nonprofit, as their goals support the foundation’s efforts to promote youth, advocacy, education, art and culture, according to MHCF board member Pamala Meador.
“The initial (sculpture) that Everyone’s Child is doing really fell right into line with our guidelines. The fact that the city was supportive of making it something that could go on city property is very exciting. It seemed like a logical fit,” Meador said.
The City Council gave Romero’s friends and family, who previously formed a citizens’ committee to promote the sculpture project, the city’s blessing to continue fundraising and working on their proposal at a meeting last month. Prior to that, the LCAC, a city advisory committee, voted unanimously to advise the council to support the public sculpture.
Donations to Everyone’s Child are tax-deductible through the MHCF, Washington said. Non-cash donations of goods and services, including publicity, video services, photography, signage, banners and supplies, are welcome.