By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY – Angela Tennant did not speak in front of the crowd outside of the Tennant's Daycare Center Saturday, Nov. 20, as a historical marker was placed in memory of her son but her presence and smile meant to world to many.
Two years ago, Tennant lost her 10-year-old son Micah "Dew" Tennant, who was shot and later died at a playoff high school football game in nearby Pleasantville.
On Saturday, family and friends came together again as Mayor Marty Small Sr. followed through on an earlier promise and installed the historical marker at the daycare center on North Virginia Avenue, where the youth was a constant presence.
"Today I'm happy that the community stepped beside us," Tennant told Front Runner New Jersey.com after the ceremony attended by about 100 people. "I don't have too much to say. It's only by the grace of God that I'm standing here today. It's the only way we could get through this. Family plays a big part. Here, I have close family, extended family and people I've met through the process. It's been a blessing."
It was an impressive Saturday morning gathering less than a block off bustling Atlantic Avenue and walking distance from the glitz of Atlantic City's casinos. On this day, it was the child, whose friends and family remembered fondly by his nickname "Dew" who shined.
Ajmal Head, Tennant's cousin who grew up with him before his death, said "Dew" was always in his "heart" and his "head" since his passing. As the historical marker unveiled during Saturday stands as a reminder of the youth, family members said they will not let Atlantic City forget about him.
On Nov. 15, 2019, Tennant was one of a crowd of youth and fans sitting in the stands at the football stadium at Pleasantville High School during a playoff game with Camden High School when shots rang out. Authorities have accused Alvin Wyatt of opening fire on a gang rival in the stands. Tennant was hit by one of the bullets, dying days later at a local hospital.
Because the high-profile football game was covered by various media outlets on the scene, images of the scene was awash on airwaves and publications for weeks. The incident made national headlines.
The NFL's Philadelphia Eagles even stepped in, allowing Pleasantville and Camden to finish their playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field, opening it only to parents and school officials.
But two years later, in the absence of national media and huddled with family and a handful of city officials like Small and city councilmen Kaleem Shabazz and Aaron "Sporty" Randolph, emotions for some were still raw.
Sa'yair Branch, a cousin who spent most of his life playing and befriending Tennant, broke down at the podium as he tried to explain his love for him.
"He made you laugh and we always had fun," Branch said, adding that one thing the death as taught him was "always be aware of your surroundings."
He then paused before putting his head down before being hugged by Tennant's godmother Monica Tennant.
"I'm angry. I'm mad and I hurt. I get it," Monica Tennant, director of the daycare center, said. "It hurts and it's okay to hurt."
For Small, who won re-election for his first four-year term in office as mayor, his effort was not about politics but making sure the Tennant family moved closer to healing that hurt.
"As a man, your word is all you have," Small told Front Runner New Jersey.com after the dedication about keeping his promise to the family. "If you don't have your word, you don't have anything. That's how I live my life and that's how I govern. I'll always tell it like it is. We wanted to do something special. We support this family and we'll continue to do so."
For the children attending Saturday's ceremony, many of them around the young Tennant's age or related to him, Monica Tennant said her goal is to make sure none of them suffer or their families face the heartache of losing them too early to senseless gun violence.
"Dew had all of us as his mom and time we spent together I still can't get a grip that he's gone and it's been two years," Monica Tennant said. "How he went hurt's the most. Something's got to be done. Mayor Small gave us a really good kickoff to remembering his name but what I have in store, this is just the beginning. No kid should deal with this. The children are still dealing with this."
QUESTION: Is Atlantic City and New Jersey doing enough to curb senseless gun violence? What can be done? Answer in the comments section below.
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