Keyla Salazar had her whole life in front of her when she was shot at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in 2019, just days before her 14th birthday.
Salazar loved creating art and cared deeply for the humans and animals in her life. Her family wanted to honor Salazar’s memory with a mural, and two years later that mural is finally up at Salazar’s childhood park.
The new mural, painted by Bay Area artist Jessica Sabogal, was unveiled Friday at the Mayfair Park and Community Center. It highlights Salazar’s perseverance, generosity, caring nature and love of art.
“I hope that when we look at this mural, we are called to take a stand and to refuse the mourning,” Sabogal said. “Do not accept these gatherings as normal. I wanted it to be celebratory of Keyla’s life, with bright and bold colors. And most importantly, I wanted it to be a place for her family to come and see themselves together with Keyla.”
A new playground was also unveiled featuring two structures for children ages 2-12, including five climbers, six slides, four swings, a large unique spinner and three shade canopies.
“Keyla was very loved by everybody and will continue to be in our hearts. She is our guardian angel and her perseverance and love will transcend in all of us,” said aunt Katiuska Pimentel. “Our family will never be the same without Keyla, but we really hope that she will be that symbol of change for the community.”
In 2019, a gunman opened fire at the all-ages food festival, killing three people, including Salazar, before he shot himself. Six-year-old Stephen Romero and 25-year-old Trevor Irby of New York were also killed. More than a dozen others were injured. The Gilroy Garlic festival has since been canceled.
Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.