Mournful screams and sobs at times drowned out the quiet gospel music being played Saturday as a sea of friends, relatives and supporters of the family clad in purple and white passed the lavender and pink casket of 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins.
More than 1,000 people – many who never knew Jenkins – turned out for the Chicago teen’s wake and funeral at the House of Hope Church.
They came Saturday to pay their respects – and show their support to Jenkins’ mother, Tereasa Martin, as she continues to seek answers about the events surrounding her daughter’s death. Jenkins was found dead Sept. 10 in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont, where she had attended a party earlier that weekend.
Joseph Alvarez, who has known Jenkins since she was an 8th grader, said there were a lot of emotions in the air during Saturday’s service.
“I’ve known her for a while, since her mom would have events in Douglas Park to gather the kids together without violence,” said Alvarez, 23. “[Martin] knows I love her, I tell her all the time to stay strong and to continue to show that passion and power.”
Jenkins was reported missing that Saturday afternoon, and authorities found her in the freezer shortly after midnight.
Friends and family did not speak during the funeral; instead it was up to pastors James Meeks, a former state lawmaker, and Andre Williams to eulogize the young woman.
“Some of us are best friends because of Kenneka,” Williams said. “She was sent her to serve a purpose — which she did — and that was to touch the world.
“We’re not here to solve this, we’re not here to ask questions,” Rev. Meeks said. “We’re here to wrap our arms around a mother, a father, many aunts and uncles and friends who have lost a loved one.”
Kenneka Jenkins’ death brought many together all over America together, white and black, despite the political tension in America currently. People from Detroit traveled to Chicago for Saturday’s funeral, and a woman from Carbondale, who drove five hours to support Martin, said she’s been following the story of Jenkins’ death and hoping for answers. Her friends, Monifah Shelton, Bre Bre were also spotted at the buria
— Courtney Gousman (@cgousman) September 30, 2017
Kenneka Jenkins funeral today.. colors are purple & white . 10,000 + people are expected to be there. So make it early- this is the church.. pic.twitter.com/b9q2B25f3V
— ✨Iᔕᔕᗩ ᔕᗩᐯᗩGE (@byefeIicia) September 30, 2017
RIP Kenneka Jenkins, rest on