Vigil held, 'Ride of Tears' planned for murdered peace activist

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Friends, family, and coworkers of 41-year-old Choosey Parker gathered Tuesday night to remember the filmmaker, a woman they all called unforgettable.

"She was the one who taught me how to film and edit," said Kenny Lee. "Choosey was somebody who, if you met her, you didn't forget who she was."

Parker and her boyfriend were shot just before 5 a.m. on March 18th as they left Purple Haze nightclub in downtown Memphis.  Parker died two weeks later, on April 3, from her injuries.

The club hosted Parker's vigil, even putting a farewell note to her on the marquee outside.

"This is one of her favorite places," said Parker's aunt, Diamond Mourning. "That chair over there?  That's her favorite chair."

Parker, a local rapper, went to Purple Haze often.  On this night, her colorful clothes and bright accessories adorned the stage.

Friends said Parker referred to herself as "a certified diva."  To aspiring rapper Purple Reign, she was a mentor.

"I'm not gonna stop," Reign said during the vigil. "I'm gonna stay focused.  I'm grinding hard for Choosey because Choosey was my inspiration.  Choosey was someone I looked up to."

Parker was also a peace activist.  She worked with Stevie Moore and his Stop the Killing campaign.  She also volunteered with Ride of Tears, a group that advocates an end to gun crime.

The irony of Parker's violent death weighs heavily on those closest to her.

"We're hurting," said Ride of Tears CEO Mary Trice, "and we're suffering.  But we're going on because justice will be served."

Memphis Police arrested 27-year-old Alan Neal the night of the shooting and charged him with aggravated assault.  Charges have not been upgraded to murder since Parker's death, an MPD spokesperson telling WMC Action News 5 "further investigation is necessary."

What is certain, say Parker's friends, is that her death must have meaning.

"We have to stop the killing," said Kenny Lee.  "The message is simple.  It don't get no better than we have got to stop the killing and put these guns down.'

Choosey Parker leaves behind her mother, three brothers, a son and three grandchildren.

Ride of Tears is holding a ride for her on Wednesday, April 11.  Those in the procession should meet at the Liberty Bowl at 2 p.m., with the ride starting at 3 p.m.

The route will go past Parker's neighborhood and then the National Civil Rights Museum.

A GoFundMe has also been set up to  help her family with funeral expenses. You can find it here.

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