The residents of East 22nd Street are reeling from the death of Jadann Williams, the 8-year-old girl who was killed after being struck by a Toyota SUV on Wednesday August 26.
Neighbors along the dead-end block have set up two memorials for the girl, who they describe as a happy child who was always smiling. One memorial, which marks the spot where the girl was hit, displays a large photo of Jadann — who was nicknamed Sheena — grinning widely during a neighborhood gathering earlier this summer.
The other sits at the end of the block, where a blue basketball — in honor of the sport Jadann adored — is surrounded by candles, and has been serving as a gathering place for neighbors looking for comfort the day after the tragic incident.
“She loved fruit, so I would always keep fruit out for her,” said Miss White, who knows the family well. “She had such good manners.”
Neighbors also talked about how much Jadann loved playing basketball, and what a cheerful and fun young girl she was.
“This is a family-oriented block,” said Carla Thomas. “We are a community; we all watch each other’s kids.”
Because E. 22nd Street is a dead end north of Ditmas Avenue, children who live on the block and kids from surrounding blocks often play in the street. There had even been a basketball hoop set up at the end of the street; however, it was removed after Jadann’s death.
“We don’t have a park nearby so there’s no other place for the kids to play,” said Thomas.
Many neighbors voiced concerns about making the street safer, several suggesting a speed bump or a sign to warn drivers of the kids playing in the street.
“We need to do something to keep this from happening again,” said neighbor Denise.
Neighbors are hoping to set up a fundraiser to help Jadann William’s family with expenses. We will update with more information about how the neighborhood can help — and if you hear of anything, please do let us know at [email protected].