Antwon Rose II, who was shot and killed by then-East Pittsburgh police officer, Michael Rosfeld, in June 2018, would be turning 19 on July 12. On that day, two local organizations are throwing the Antwon Rose II Community Birthday Celebration in Hawkins Village, the neighborhood where Rose grew up.
Hosted by Young Black Motivated Kings & Queens and 1Hood Media, two local nonprofits focused on empowering young people through music, media education, and social justice activism, the block party-style birthday celebration is just as the name suggests: a celebration. The event includes activities such as bounce houses, face painting, and a bookbag drive for the local children, as well as live music and food trucks.
The event follows one held for Rose’s 18th birthday last year, which occurred less than a month after the fatal shooting.
Tye Clark, the director of public relations and creative enrichment for 1Hood, says the event aim to engage young people in the community. Clark also aims to bring positivity to Hawkins Village, which she says is needed given the sadness Rose’s passing brought to many members of the community.
That grief was compounded in March when Rosfeld went to trial and was acquitted for Rose’s shooting, which led to city-wide protests.
“Last year we had a really amazing turnout and there was a lot of positivity around it, which was difficult because it was only a month after Antwon’s passing,” Clark says. “This year, we’re on the heels of the verdict [in the trial of Michael Rosfeld], but we’re hoping that we still have an opportunity to bring together the community and support in a way that is positive and impactful.”
Clark feels an uplifting event is important for the community, as well as Rose’s family, who support the celebration.
“This is something that Antwon’s family really wanted to see happen. They really want Antwon’s memory to live on and for it to be understood that just because the verdict was less than ideal, the fight isn’t over,” Clark says. “His mom, even though she has suffered an irreplaceable loss, genuinely wants everything around her son to be positive and uplifting. [His birthday] is a hard day for her, and she just wants to be around people who loved her son, who love the community and will help her get through it.”
Antwon Rose II Community Birthday Celebration. 1-7 p.m. Fri., July 12. Kenmawr Ave., Hawkins Village, Rankin.