Detroit activists to award $700 to child with best business idea at Rouge Park honoring murder victim

Francesca Marks lost her life at Rouge Park one year ago and where a group of community activists will gather to honor her Saturday.

"We want to be able to say hey you don't have to just shoot hoops to make it out the hood," said Negus Vu, The People's Action. "You can become an entrepreneur and you can give back to the hood and uplift your community. We want to be able to put that seed in their minds when they're very young."

Detroit's next generation of entrepreneurs may be birthed from tragedy. The People's Action is a Detroit-based non-profit. It will give $700 to a boy or girl who presents the best business idea at Rouge Park Saturday.

It is also where TPA will host a memorial for Francesca Marks, the 30-year-old mother of seven, shot and killed at the park last year.

"When you think about the violence and all of the stuff that happens in the community a lot of times it's because of a lack of resources," said Negas Vu.  "We've got to bring the resources to the community, but also we have to be the resource."

Marks was killed at a family reunion at Rouge Park in August of 2019. She was an innocent bystander struck by gunfire after an argument broke out over a basketball game. 

Murder victim Francesca Marks, a mother of seven.

Murder victim Francesca Marks, a mother of seven.

"Our whole goal is for her name to not die in vain, it is for it to never happen again," said DuJuan Zoe, The People's Action. "We don't ever want that to happen. We don't want anybody's mama laid out in front of her kids when they just came out to enjoy something."

TPA is hoping their efforts now and over the long haul, will make Rouge Park and the surrounding community safer.

"You have to understand this is a regular occurrence at rouge," said Minister Freedom, The People's Action. "And not only is it a regular occurrence at Rouge, it's a regular occurrence in our communities. Because it's so regular: women getting shot; women getting killed; children being killed; people being killed in general, we have to actively work to combat that. We have to actively work to remind people, 'Hey this is not okay.'

The memorial for Francesca Marks is set for this Saturday at the basketball courts at Rouge Park from 2 to 6 p.m. There will be a march and a lot of activities for kids from bounce houses, games and a talent showcase and also the awarding of  $700 to a young Detroiter with the best business idea.

The opportunity is for kids between the ages of 4 and 12 years old and they've received quite a few already. If you know any entrepreneurial kids, submit business ideas to And for more information on The People's Action, please go to

DuJuan Zoe, The People's Action, a Detroit community activism group..

DuJuan Zoe, The People's Action, a Detroit community activism group..