By Sydney Melson, The Birmingham Times
Family, friends, neighbors and city officials gathered at the Tom Brown Village Community Center in the Avondale neighborhood for a memorial tribute to Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, a three-year-old girl who was tragically murdered last year.
The somber ceremony marked the one-year anniversary of Cupcake’s body being discovered, a tragedy that shook the entire city of Birmingham.
Birmingham City Council partnered with Angels Arms Operation Exploited and Missing Persons to create the annual “Never Again” memorial for Cupcake, with speakers including Mayor Randall Woodfin.
“It’s really hard to find the words of comfort. On the other hand, it gives me strength to stand before you when I see this type of crowd that’s showing love and support,” Woodfin said. “[The community] cares not only about the memory of Cupcake and their family, but the unity of our city when so much has happened.”
City Council President William Parker, Councilor John Hilliard also spoke while law enforcement representatives from the sheriff’s and Birmingham Police Department were in attendance.
The memorial was made possible by the City of Birmingham, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Birmingham Police Department, the North Avondale Neighborhood Association, and the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District.
Jasmaine Deloach, an organizer with Angels Arms Operation, said Cupcake was being honored while also raising awareness to the issue of children being kidnapped, “a problem that is still very prevalent in our country,” Deloach said. “If we don’t keep speaking about this issue and raising awareness, then things will never change. But we’re here to say this will never happen again in Birmingham.”
Cupcake was abducted while attending a birthday party at Tom Brown Village on Oct. 12, 2019 and her body was found 10 days later.
This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.
Event organizers hand out balloons during ceremony to remember 3-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney in the Avondale community. (Sydney Melson, The Birmingham Times)
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin (at podium) addresses the crowd during a memorial tribute to Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, a 3-year-old girl who was murdered in the Avondale neighborhood last year. City Council President William Parker (left) and City Councilor John Hilliard flank the mayor. (Sydney Melson, The Birmingham Times)