Lexington remembers the late Anita Franklin with colorful mural in Duncan Park

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A new mural in Lexington honors the late Anita Franklin, a mom turned anti-violence advocate when her son was shot and killed in 2014. In 2020, Franklin passed away, leaving behind her work and legacy. Anita Franklin’s work began after her son Antonio was shot and killed April 2014.

“She turned such a bad situation to triumph and her mission was to not let that happen to anybody else’s kid,” says Ricardo Franklin, Anita’s younger son.

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Franklin was once a familiar face in the community. Today, she is the face of a mural painted in Duncan Park. The same park where her son, Antonio, was shot on the swing set. His brother Ricardo says visiting is bittersweet.

“He passed away right here on the swing set so coming back to this park has always meant a little bit more to my family and now having this mural here that means a lot too,” says Franklin.

Ricardo says the portrait is comforting.

“Its colorful it pops that exactly who my mom was. It was drawn out to show her overlooking the same park that she lost her son in. I think that’s one of the main important things to take away from that piece she’s overlooking the entire park so kids can come and play here now and feel safe,” says Franklin.

The non-profit Moms Demand Action says Franklin’s work never stopped. Cathy Mekus, the Kentucky State Chapter leader told ABC 36 news that one night, Franklin, who was originally a nurse turned sheriff’s office employee, heard gun shots outside her home and rushed out to see a young man laying on the ground.

“And even though she didn’t know if the shooters were actually gone or not, Anita stayed with the young man and she held his hand and she comforted him while he passed away,” says Mekus, recalling the story.

Ricardo Franklin says he’s proud to follow in his mom’s foot steps, working with the office of the Fayette County Sheriff to advocate for safer streets.

“I feel like I’m able to see what she saw. Me being in this role its allowed me to have that same vision my mom had,” says Franklin.

A vision to look out for others.