A memorial in Rock Island on Tuesday pays tribute to a man murdered six years ago.

De’mar Bester was shot to death in 2016. His murder remains unsolved.

The case continues to motivate his family to help the neighbhoood.

De’mar’s family builds on the memorial they created close to where he was killed.

His mother has been the driving force behind it.

Relatives add things to the memorial every year.

There’s a neighborhood library for people to borrow and leave books, a bench where people sit, talk and pray.

This year, they added a bird bath as a symbol of freedom and peace and the family has more plans for the neighborhood.

“I really hope these young people start being more respectful … I guess you could say,” family friend Tony Stewart said. “Respect your community. If you’ve got to live here and eventually you’ll have your children grow up here too. You want them to grow up like this?”

Stewart has gone through tragedy. His daughter Lyric was stabbed to death in 2020.

He’s supporting another parent who also lost her son to violence in the same neighborhood as his daughter.

“So when I got the call from my daughter, it was devastating,” De’Mar’s mother, Othea Stevenson, said. “You never ever want to get that call as a parent.”

Right after her son was shot to death in 2016, Stevenson created a memorial site to honor him. Now, she’s using it as a way to revive the neighborhood she and her kids grew up in.

“It impacts the community for awareness,” Stevenson said. “To say, ‘Hey, we’re still here.’ We’re still striving to move forward. To not only to move forward, but to move forward in a positive direction. We are here to fight against gun violence. We don’t want any children here to continually have to suffer against gun violence or even be scared to walk down the street.”

The family wanted to create a peaceful memorial site.

“When we put this memeorial bench here it was for a bench to cry on… to pray on… it was for a bench to sit and read on, so we put a library up the year before,” Stevenson said. “So you can take a book and leave a book.”

And now… a bird bath.

“If you think about birds they’re free,” Stevenson said. “They’re free to roam as much as they want to … in a safe environment, so we thought about the bird bath and of course they can fly here and be free and so can the people.”

Stevenson wants to continue sending the message of hope into the community.

“I am working closely with city officials here. Two years ago we talked about opening up a grievance center for parents who have lost a child in this area to be able to go and get the mental health that they need and spiritual help as well.”

The memorial site is open to the public.

Bester’s family displays billboards at the intersection of 11th Street and 18th Avenue to honor Bester on the day he was killed.