Published in the April 11 – 24, 2018 Issue of Morgan Hill Life
The shooting the evening of Friday Nov. 4, 2011, was a random act of violence. Tara Romero and several friends stood chatting outside the Village Avante apartments on the corner of Cosmo and Del Monte avenues. Without warning, gunfire erupted from a passing car.
One child fled and escaped injury. Rosa Castaneda, then 14, Alicia Sotelo, then 15, and Chris Loredo, then 16, were hit by bullets and survived. Tara laid motionless on the ground. The children had been waiting for a ride home after celebrating a friend’s birthday.
During the past several years, Tara’s family has paid $22,500, to Los Angeles-based artist Dee Spellerman to create the sculpture called “Never Forgotten” in the girl’s likeness. Now that the statue is nearly finished, the city of Morgan Hill’s Library Culture and Arts Commission is inviting residents, civic organizations, community leaders and business owners to fund the remaining $10,000 needed to cover final costs. These include statue refinements, a cement base, a plaque, transportation, and installation. All funds raised will be deposited in a designated account for direct payment to vendors associated with the project.
The Library Culture & Arts Commission launched the campaign to raise the$10,000 for completion and installation of the sculpture at a location between City Hall and the Library. The life-sized bronze statue depicts a young girl gazing up at El Toro Mountain and lifting a butterfly in her right hand. It is intended to serve as inspirational symbol of hope, peace, and unity for young people in our community.
Morgan Hill Life encourages those in the community to donate to the campaign. When the statue is installed, we will publish a story. We also offer people, businesses or organization that donate $250 or more to the statue’s completion the opportunity, if they wish, to be included in a list of donors that will be published with the story. If the donor has a loved one they would like to honor with a donation, we can include the name of that person on the list.
“During this season of renewal and fresh beginnings, it’s a perfect time to support Tara’s family in their desire to memorialize her young life, and to creatively express the right of ‘everyone’s child’ to envision and achieve their dreams in a peaceful, non-violent community,” said Library Culture and Arts Commissioner Paul Lake. “With your contributions, we’ll be able to officially unveil the sculpture in the coming weeks.”
The shooting that night six years ago stole the life of a young girl who was a friendly and free-spirited freshman at Sobrato High School. Tara was born and raised in Morgan Hill. She cared about people. She liked to joke around with friends and family. She was an average kid who liked to have fun. A young victim of gun violence, we encourage readers to donate to the cause of completing and installing the statue in her honor.