WASHINGTON — On July 16, 2018, 10-year-old Makiyah Wilson was shot and killed on her way back from getting ice cream in her Northeast D.C. neighborhood.
Four masked men jumped out of the black Infiniti car and sprayed more than 70 gunshots into the crowd, hitting Makiyah and four adults.
On Saturday night, Makiyah's family honored her memory by speaking out against gun violence in front of the White House.
"She didn't know that was going to be her last day," Makiyah's mother, Donnetta Wilson, said. "That's why I do things like this, organize things and try to do things to keep her name alive and bring awareness."
Mike D'Angelo, Makiyah's uncle, said he walked from Philadelphia to D.C. to honor his niece's life and raise awareness about the dangerous consequences of gun violence.
"We have to teach each other how to love each other, how to take care of each other," D'Angelo said. "Understand there are parts to this gift that we have called life."
Family and friends held signs and painted artwork devoted to the little girl whose life was taken too soon, as well as wore shirts memorializing Makiyah. Posters plastered with photographs of Makiyah were held right outside the White House gates, depicting various images of her with loved ones.
Protestors included Mothers of Murdered Sons & Daughters United, an anti-gun violence organization that represents families who lost loved ones to tragedies like Makiyahs, and No One Left Unhelped, a program for mothers and children who lost a loved one to gun-violence.
For family members that have lost loved ones, the persistent activism is a way of coping.
"I have to stay motivated and stay busy, because I miss my daughter beyond words," Makiyah's mother said.
Makiyah's mom said she was a vibrant, outgoing little girl who had recently turned 10-years-old before the tragedy unfolded. Her parents said that she loved school and would have been heading to the 5th grade after the summer was over.
A D.C. grand jury has since indicted 11 people in connection to the crime.
"Makiyah did not ask to be killed like that [on] that day.. none of these victims asked to be shot and killed like this," her uncle continued. "So when you hate yourself, go to God or do something to put yourself around love and don't hurt others, man."