Slain Oakland teen's mother wants to open dance studio in daughter's memory
OAKLAND, Calif. .(KTVU) - Onika Wilson is a name you may not know, but images of her daughter, Reggina Jefferies, who she called a dancing angel, have been viewed hundreds of thousands of time online.
Reggina was doing a praise and worship dance at the funeral of two of her friends who drowned in May. "My daughter danced all the time I never recorded her dancing. That was the first time I ever recorded her dance and she did an amazing job," says Wilson.
That day, June 14th, was the last time that 16-year-old Reggina danced. A few hours later she was shot and killed in downtown Oakland on Franklin between 13th and 14th Streets near the Tribune Tower.
Wilson says later this year she plans to open a studio; one where young people can learn the craft her daughter loved dearly since she was three-years-old.
"If I open up a dance studio, somebody can come out there and shine bright like a star. In honor of Reggina's name," Wilson said. Doing so comes at a huge cost. Like many people, Wilson turned to the Internet and opened a GoFundMe account to raise money for Reggina's funeral. It's something she says she regretted. Not because there was a lack of responses. But because several fake accounts were also created.
"I got a couple shutdown, but it seems like as soon as I get them shut down some more would pop back up," said Wilson.
Those fake account raised hundreds of dollars. A spokesperson for GoFundMe said less than one tenth of one percent of their accounts are fraudulent.
They have a team of people who work around the clock to check for authenticity, with Reggina's case. "There were a few campaigns with no direct or clear connection to the family. Those campaigns were suspended and the donations will be returned to the donors," says Bobby Whithorne with gofundme.
Wilson said will not let this set her back. Her goal is to open a studio somewhere in San Leandro for Reggina on December 1st. Which would've been Reggina's 17th birthday. "I'm so proud to say that I'm the mother of that girl, that 16-year-old child. I'm really proud to say that I'm her mother," Wilson said.
She called Oakland police daily to get an update on her daughter’s case. Right now police are still looking for a suspect.
If you want to contribute to opening the dance studio in Reggina's name. You can donate through Bank of the West online or at any branch. The account is in Reggina Jefferies name and the account #43522242