Mother of slain Evanston teen to start foundation in son’s name


Source: Tiffany Rice

ETHS freshman Dajae Coleman was killed in September. Tiffany Rice, Coleman’s mother, announced last month she is creating the Foundation for Dajae Coleman to honor her son and enrich the Evanston community.

Ciara McCarthy, Assistant City Editor

The mother of slain Evanston teen Dajae Coleman is starting a foundation in her son’s name to support youth in the city.

Tiffany Rice, Coleman’s mother, announced last month she is creating the Foundation for Dajae Coleman to honor her son and enrich the Evanston community. The foundation’s board met Friday to discuss goals for the organization and plans for its first event, Dae Dae World Weekend, which will be held this year on the first anniversary of the weekend of Coleman’s death, Sept. 20-22.

Coleman, a freshman at Evanston Township High School, was gunned down Sept. 22 in the 1500 block of Church Street. Evanston Police said he was killed in a case of mistaken identity. Police arrested Evanston man Wesley Woodson III, 20, in connection with Coleman’s murder. Woodson is currently standing trial.

Rice said she decided to start the foundation because her son’s shooting impacted the city in a way she had never seen before.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl told The Daily in February she had never seen the community react so strongly in the wake of gun violence.

“When I called for a community meeting after Dae Dae’s death, there were people who didn’t come to the meeting because they tried but there was no parking anywhere in the vicinity,” Tisdahl said. “I’ve never seen an outpouring like that.”

At Coleman’s funeral, Rodney Harris spoke for the Coleman family, describing a international “Dae Dae movement” inspired by Coleman.

“This is a Dae Dae movement,” Harris said. “A movement that was represented by a young man of character, a movement that was represented by a man that didn’t sag his pants all the way down.”

Since Coleman’s death, the phrase “Dae Dae World,” referencing Coleman’s nickname, has been used to remember the teen. The phrase is also trending on Twitter. Rice said she decided to create Dae Dae World Weekend because the phrase has taken hold of the Evanston community.  The weekend will include a family fun night at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St., where Coleman worked in 2012.

“The event will be about bringing families together because Dajae was very family-oriented,” Rice said.

The weekend will also include a basketball clinic at ETHS to celebrate Coleman’s favorite sport and pastime.

In addition, Rice said the foundation will award a scholarship to an ETHS freshman who is representative of qualities Coleman exemplified. The scholarship will go toward a summer program of the student’s choice and will be first awarded during the 2013-14 school year.

Hecky Powell, owner of Hecky’s Barbecue, is a board member of the foundation. Last month, his Forrest E. Powell Foundation awarded Rice with the Work Ethic Award, which honors an Evanston community member with recognition and a $1,000 reward. The money will go directly to the Foundation for Dajae Coleman.

“This young lady is an inspiration to this community because she’s not stopping and she wants to keep her son’s legacy alive,” Powell said.