DECATUR — Emani Moss’ obituary called her an angel.
“Emani’s presence would light up a room and her spirit would be felt, she was an angel on earth,” it read.
On Tuesday evening, a crowd lifted up their voices and their prayers at a DeKalb County church in memory of the 10-year-old Lawrenceville child, who suffered a tragic death allegedly at the hands of her father and stepmother.
“We come to celebrate her beautiful spirit, we come to mourn her passing and we have come to make sure that her life, although short, will be remembered,” said Calvin Roberson, senior pastor at Progression Church in Atlanta, who led the vigil. “We also came to realize the problem, that children should not needlessly die.”
Photos of Emani were projected onto a large screen behind a podium where her grandmother, Robin Moss, spoke about her. The same podium where Roberson called for change and where minister Anthony Freeman of Fairfield Baptist Church in Lithonia said something good is going to come out of Emani’s death.
“I think the one thing that runs through the fabric of what everyone is saying here is that this has to start change,” Roberson said. “Change has to begin now.”
“I want people to be aware that we’re trying to get bills passed to keep this from happening to any other children,” Robin Moss said following the vigil. “We don’t want any, any other children to be hurt ever. Ever. My granddaughter paid a price. She cried, she had a silent cry, but I heard her out loud and I think more people need to start getting involved. I think people need to start knocking on doors. It’s time. It’s actually past time. This shouldn’t have never happened.”
During the vigil, prayers were lifted up for Emani’s family, the accused perpetrators, Eman and Tiffany Moss, and for change.
“This cannot end with this vigil tonight. It cannot end with the memorial service tomorrow at noon,” Roberson said. “I think that the best way to remember Emani is to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Emani’s great-aunt Gaynell Leaks, an advocate for victims of domestic violence, said she hopes Emani’s story is a wake up call.
“I wish that America wakes up and listens to these kids, hear them out,” she said. “I wish (the Division of Family and Children Services) would get from behind the desk, start following up on these cases and do what needs to be done to save the children.”