From grief to greatness: Syracuse mom honors son who was gunned down with community day

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s empty now, but on Saturday June 5, 2021 Barry Park in Syracuse will be transformed for the Let Me Be Great #44 Annual Community Day.

“We’ll have a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for youth from fifth grade to 12th grade. We are still looking for registration. We will have food from Who Wants Smoke barbeque and free food. Everything is going to be free there,” said Rasheada Caldwell, founder of the Let Me Be Great #44 organization.

There will also music and tables with community resources. It will be a day celebration, but that wasn’t always the case for Caldwell. She explained, “June 5, 2017 my son, Rasheed Baker, was murdered. On that that, it broke me. It devastated me and my family, the community.”

Baker, who was 21-years-old, was shot and killed outside his home. Caldwell was inside at the time. No arrests have been made yet. Caldwell decided to turn her grief into something great. After her son was killed she started the organization, Let Me Be Great #44.

Rasheed wore the number 44 when played football. One of his favorite phrases was, ‘Let me be great.’ The organization created in his honor works with youth to expose them to opportunities.

“That’s exactly what Rasheed wanted. Rasheed wanted, he was part of the community,” Caldwell reflected, “He wanted to do good for people and he wanted people to be great.”

This week’s headlines of teen violence have been hard to take in for Caldwell, because she knows all too well the pain families are going through.

“I don’t have the answer. I’ve been pleading for years, prior to my son being murdered, I just know I will continue to push. I will continue to advocate,” said Caldwell.

To register or to donate water, email: LetMeBeGreat44@gmail.com

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