For the first time in Lake County Friday, a street dedicated to an African American woman. She’s a murder victim who leaves behind a little boy, and, her family hopes, yet another reason to win the war on gun violence.
“It’s a great honor to my baby– it really is. But the selfish me; I want my baby.”
Angela Blakely could barely choke out the words as she remembers her little girl, Janay McFarlane, 18– a new mother and Lake County’s first murder victim of 2013. She was shot and killed on the way home from a convenience store.
Joe McFarlane, Janay’s father, “my baby is gone– she won’t be back. But I refuse to let my baby die in vain.”
North Chicago Alderman Torrance Abrams said “It’s on the churches. It’s on the government. It’s on all of us as men just to stand up.”
The street sign, not far from the crime scene; the place where Janay was shot back in February while walking with friends; stalked by the gunman, investigators say and as is so often the case, not the intended target.
“I can deal with burying my mom, my grandmother,” Joe said, “but the hardest thing to do is to bury your child.”
She had just spoken to her mother about how deeply affected she was by the January killing of Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton. Her sister, Destini, had just shared a stage with the president as he talked about curbing gun violence during a stop at Hyde Park Career Academy.
And as 13th Street in North Chicago becomes Janay McFarlane way, her mother still dreams that her daughter’s coming home.
“But I know I my heart that’s not the truth and I know I can’t bring her back. But I know eventually I’ll be okay. It’s just time,” she said.
21-year-old Jim McPherson is charged in Janay’s death. He’s pleaded not guilty to a count of first-degree murder.