Fonticello Park playground dedicated to gun violence victim Markiya Dickson

Family and friends gather for the ribbon cutting of the Markiyah Dickson Imagination Zone at Fonticello Park.
Published: May. 20, 2023 at 10:19 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Dickson family is starting to see brighter days as healing takes place after the loss of Markiya Dickson.

Markiya was the victim of a shooting that took place in Fonticello Park (formerly Carter Jones Park) back in May 2019. Four years later, on Saturday, May 20, friends and family came together to remember Markiya, as the playground at that very same park was named in her honor.

“When I do come out here, it brings me back to that day, but now I see something beautiful right here to put me at a sense of ease because this is what my baby would have wanted because she lived her life with compassion,” said Mark Dickson, Markiya’s father.

The 9-year-old who lived with compassion was taken too soon after a stray bullet claimed her life at a Memorial Day cookout and left her family forever changed.

“We left my daughter in this park,” said Dickson.

Family and city leaders worked together to invest in the park, now known as the Markiya Dickson Imagination Zone. After more than a million dollars, the project is complete.

As the Imagination Zone was presented to the city on Saturday, the park was filled with diversity, love and growth. Mayor Stoney and other city leaders were there to share a few words in Markiya’s honor.

“People from all walks of life, different hues, coming together for one sole purpose, to make sure our city is better,” the mayor said. “We want our children to be children, kids to be kids, and in order for kids to be kids, they have to have access to the greenspace and projects like this all across our city,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

Mark Dickson said he always knew his daughter was special and would make a difference in this world. Although it’s in a tragic way, her memory will live on through the city.

“Although Markiya is no longer with us, she will never be ever forgotten,” said Mayor Stoney.

City Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch also spoke at the ceremony. She reminded the community about Markiya’s spirit and the strength of the Dickson family.

“We honor their resilience and the spirit of innocence, the spirit of a child at play, a child who loved to sing, dance. Today we honor something beautiful, more than a playground but a symbol of this community coming together, a symbol of friendship, coming together, a world without hate,” said Lynch.