COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Despite losing her teenager to gun violence, a central Ohio mother is keeping her daughter’s legacy alive.
Makenzi Ridley was shot and killed outside a recreation center on the far east side of Columbus last summer. Now, a foundation her mother has started in her name is getting support from the city.
“This is just another way that Makenzi is still speaking, still speaking,” said Seneca Ridley-Turner, Makenzi’s mother. “Even in the way she died, it’s so full of love still.”
Ridley-Turner often talks about how her daughter was an entrepreneur. Now, she wants to help other young entrepreneurs get their start.
Funding from the city will help her do just that.
It’s been about 10 months since the city lost 17-year-old Makenzi, someone her mother said led with love, was a giver, and an entrepreneur.
“Makenzi was such a firecracker,” Ridley-Turner said. “This, in a way, doesn’t surprise me because this is so her. Like, even in death, she can’t die. This is so her.”
Ridley was on her way to starting a beauty and cosmetics business. Her favorite color was orange. After she was shot and killed last June, Ridley-Turner started the Orange Hearts for Makenzi Foundation.
“Makenzi wanted to have her own business,” Ridley-Turner said. “She wanted to be able to hire people and add to, you know, giving jobs to people in this city. There are many people like her. I just want to help with that, just do my part, her part, our part.”
Columbus is helping, too, as city council approved $50,000 for the foundation at its meeting Monday. The money will go toward training young entrepreneurs in starting businesses.
“What happened to her was a tragedy and hopefully this small investment, to your point, will give some young folks some hope,” said Columbus City Councilmember Nick Bankston.
According to Ridley-Turner, the training will likely start this summer, saying it’s her way of keeping her daughter’s dreams alive.
“Every day, I cry, and sometimes, it’s happy tears, sometimes it’s sad tears, and I get frustrated, but I’m so proud of her legacy,” she said.
As of Monday, Columbus police said no arrests have been made in the shooting.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Columbus police at 614-645-4545.