'This is not life': At vigil for Newark mother, a call for an end to violence

By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on September 29, 2014

 

NEWARK — As raindrops began to fall in Newark’s South Ward Monday night, Barbara King called for a “cleansing.”

A longtime neighbor who Talia Capri Nesmith’s considered an aunt, King asked the more than 100 people in the crowd to share their memories of the young mother, who was stabbed to death in her home last week.

What followed was not only a memorial to Nesmith, but a call to action to stop the plague of violence that made her the city’s 65th homicide victim of 2014.

“This is not life. We should not be experiencing this every day, especially with someone as innocent as Talia,” said Ashley Hobbs, a friend of Nesmith’s.

The large crowd gathered in front of the Goldsmith Avenue home where Nesmith lived included a number of city leaders, many of whom asked onlookers to approach her death as a catalyst for change.

“Whether it’s kids, whether it’s adults, this needs to stop,” said Gail Muhammad, a representative for Municipal Council member Eddie Osborne’s office. “We need to find a way to stop this violence, because it just doesn’t work.”

Many of the speakers pledged their support to Nesmith’s mourning family, especially her one-year-old daughter, Kourtney Monaé, who is being cared for by her grandmother and great aunt.

“We must stick together through this, and help this baby right here, because she has not mother,” said Richard Holt. “Don’t worry about what the next man’s got…We have to love each other. We can’t keep doing it.”

Others spoke openly of the anger they felt toward the alleged killer, Ito Lightford, who lived in another unit in the three-unit home Nesmith’s grandmother had owned until her death in January.

Shonta Robinson, who described Nesmith as her “first friend”, was among those still struggling to come to terms with the loss of someone universally regarded as innocent and pure of heart.

“She did not deserve what he did to her, because she never hurt nobody,” she told the crowd, tears streaming down her face.

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