Credit: Bill Moore photo

Every inch of the aisles and wall space at Harlem’s Unity Funeral Chapel was taken and draped in sadness and tears during the December 20, 2022 service for slain teenager Saniyah Lawrence.

Laying in a white casket with a princess tiara, was the 16-year-old who was allegedly killed by her 18-year-old boyfriend Zyaire Crumbley two weeks ago. Delivering a powerful eulogy and calling for “brand new mercies,” Pastor Larry L. Davies echoed the sentiment that in a world where Black people have faced the most heinous assaults historically, the violence within the community must stop. 

Bill Moore photo

Bringing flowers and emotional hugs, friends, community members and students from PS 185, IS 54 and the Frederick Douglass Academy, embraced Saniyah’s parents Sherise Jackson and Justin Lawrence, grandparents and family members.

A beautiful, yet painful funeral was assisted by Stephanie McGraw, founder and CEO of We All Really Matter – W.A.R.M. 

“We need the city to give us resources to help families when they go through this type of trauma,” said McGraw. “These funerals are not the end, they are the beginning of them trying to cope with their loss.”

Bill Moore photo

Helping the devastated family too, Iesha Sekou and her Street Corner Resources team came out to continue offering full support.

Following the funeral procession Saniyah was laid to rest in Hoboken Cemetery.

“When are we going to stop burying our young people like this?” asked Sekou. “We have to reach the youths who are in crisis.”

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