Gonzalez Family Memorial Park

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Gonzalez Family Memorial Park

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Urban Neighborhood Initiatives started this petition to City of Detroit

On July 4th, 2020, the community of Southwest Detroit experienced a tragedy that shook our neighborhood. After a day of festivities, the Gonzalez family: Fransisco Gonzalez, Maria Gonzalez, and their 3 boys: Brian (16), Fransisco Jr (12), and James (9), were on their way home when they were victims of a heinous crime. Maria Gonzalez passed away in the attack, leaving her husband and children injured. Unfortunately, on the day of Maria's funeral, Mr. Gonzalez succumbed to his injuries and passed away. They leave behind their three boys and their mark on our community. 

The Gonzalez family was very involved in their neighborhood. As a family, they worked alongside Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI) since 2013; they were our first family of Land Stewards to beautify and actively steward a city park: Lafayette Playlot. The Gonzalez family collaborated with UNI to clean and transform vacant lots next to their home.  For years these lots had become spots for illegal dumping and excessive garbage. Even after a long day of hard work, Francisco would not hesitate to put a head mounted flashlight to cut the grass at Lafayette Playlot, he worked hard to set a good example for his boys. 

Maria and her family saw a need to clean the front and backyard of a deteriorating vacant home, just steps away from Lafayette Playlot.  Collaborating with DTE Care Corps, several yards of illegal dumping, overgrown brush, and construction waste were removed, and through this effort, they created a safe walkway for children and families to reach the Lafayette Playlot. 

Maria and Fransisco connected to a single green space in their community and transformed their neighborhood. As a natural-born organizer, Maria enlisted many of her friends and family members to help with all the green spaces they had adopted.  

Maria and Fransico Gonzalez's memory will forever resonate in these green spaces.  When you visit Lafayette Playlot and see families gathering, children playing on the swings or the slide, young people playing basketball, or residents on the walking path, know that a very special family with the help of local organizations and volunteer groups forever changed the Lafayette Playlot and their neighborhood. 

It is only fitting that we honor the Gonzalez family by renaming the Lafayette Playlot in their honor. Please take a few minutes to help us accomplish this tribute. 

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