Sadness and shock filled many of the faces of nearly 100 people who gathered at New City School in the Poly High neighborhood of Long Beach Friday evening for a vigil and silent march to commemorate the life of Alicia Faith Todd—a 21-year-old woman who was found shot to death in an alley last Wednesday.
Many of the attendees were parents and students of the charter school where two of Todd’s siblings were students and where she and her mom were well known for being especially active volunteers.
While Todd’s mom, Koya Broderick, was known as extremely helpful and someone who volunteers nearly every school day, Todd had also established a presence at the school.
According to Stephanie Lee, the school’s founder, the Millikan High School alumna graduated with about 900 volunteer hours—nearly triple the mandated amount.
“She was really creative,” Lee said. “When we had our school carnival she did face painting…she was one of those really kind, supportive, people.”
According to family and friends, Todd was working at Chuck E. Cheese and a student at Long Beach City College where she was studying to be social worker.
Many decided to take part in the vigil to honor Todd and to push for answers surrounding her death.
Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) officials currently do not have any suspect information or motive for her death.
According to authorities, Todd was found fatally shot in the upper torso in an alley between Orange and Lemon Avenues, north of 21st Street.
Police said the calling party reported hearing gunshots on Wednesday, June 24, at about midnight but did not call police until they found Todd in the alley about an hour later.
“We thought ‘we need to come together, we need to do something to make sure that everybody knows she’s part of a community and she is important,” Lee said. “So frequently we know it's easy to look away and move on to the next story as soon as it gets quiet, so we don't want to get quiet, we don't want people to move on to the next story, we don't want her to be a number or a statistic."
The large group began by standing with posters reading “Violence Must End” and “Black Lives Matter” in hand outside of the school, then marching to Martin Luther King Jr. Park where they gathered in a circle, lit candles and shared memories of the family.
Some of Todd’s family members also joined the group at the park, speaking about Todd and the importance of being close with family.
“I want to thank every one of you for supporting our family,” Todd’s sister Patty told the crowd. “It’s sad that she’s taken from us but I hope that if you're not talking to somebody, reach out, tell them you love them. If you're having a grudge or having issues make sure that you hold their hand because you don't know…”
The vigil ended with the planting of an apple tree meant to represent peace.
An account has been created at youcaring.com where those interested can donate money to help the family with funeral expenses.
All photos by Stephanie Rivera.