CLEVELAND - The family of slain teen, Alianna DeFreeze, has continued to push for change.
A fish fry held Friday, honored the memory of the 14-year-old, while raising funds.
Damon DeFreeze, Alianna’s father, wants to put the money towards a foundation he’s made in his daughter’s name: “The Alianna DeFreeze Let’s Make a Change Foundation."
“Through it all, I stand strong, because there’s a lot to be done,” Damon told WKYC Channel 3's Hilary Golston.
Alianna was last seen early one late January morning getting off an RTA bus at the corner of East 93rd and Kinsman. She was supposed to board a second bus, but never did.
Her body was found at 9412 Fuller Avenue on Cleveland's East Side.
Christopher Whittaker, 44, of South Euclid was charged with aggravated murder in the teen’s death. There are four counts of aggravated murder in total, two counts of kidnapping, one count of rape, one count of aggravated burglary, one count of offense against a human corpse and one count of tampering with evidence.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Whitaker.
The fish fry was a collaborative effort, orchestrated by members of the community and friends of the family. “If selling a few dinners is going to make just one person aware,” Damon’s longtime friend Jettie Lee Jr. explained, “why not do it.”
Since Alianna’s death, Damon has championed causes he believes will make the lives of those around him better, including participating in efforts to funnel taxpayer money away from Quicken Loans Arena renovations and towards improving neighborhoods.
Similarly, DeFreeze says the foundation will work to make the community safer.
Friday, Damon said he wants proceeds from the fish fry and other fundraisers to be “used wisely… going towards abandoned buildings, projects, transportation we’re in the process of obtaining as far as getting these kids to school safely… we have a lot of things we’re doing.”
Damon says those wishing to donate can do so at any Key Bank.
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