EUCLID, OH (WOIO) - Mickhal Garrett walked down the sidewalk of the Cultural Gardens Apartments, cradling an urn close to his chest.
This father carried the ashes of his beloved daughter, Aniya.
A pink tiara adorned the urn.
Pink was the favorite color of the 4-year-old.
It was heartbreaking to all who saw it, but Garrett stood firm.
Some supporters at the memorial came straight from a rally to hold Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services accountable.
The memorial was held at the very location paramedics tried to revive Aniya one year ago.
Aniya died after being neglected by her mother, Sierra Day, and her boyfriend, Deonte Lewis.
But instead of focusing on Aniya’s sad and tragic death, her father focused on change.
Garrett said, “each and every time she had a chance she told social workers she told daycare workers and she told the hospitals and she even told police mommy hit me.”
All of Aniya’s cries for help went unheard.
Mickhal said he desperately tried to gain custody, that’s why there where so many tears...but not from Mickhal.
“I find strength in God and in the hundreds of people who have supported me and Aniya," he said.
The grieving father also cradled a frame picture of her favorite dress and shoes.
All of this was to remind people the toddler didn’t have to die.
Mickhal said more change is needed.
“We want to see law enforcement go inside the home and be able to get our children out of that home in an emergency matter," said Mickhal.
Even though the trial is over, he said he will continue fight for justice and change for the system that let the 4-year-old down.
“We are going to hold our foot down on Cuyahoga County, and DCFS next," he told supporters.