Over a year later, the family and friends of Jelani Day are still grappling for answers as they grieve the loss of their loved one. Despite living with the pain of receiving the horrifying, life-changing news of Day’s passing, the family started the Jelani Day Foundation in August 2022 intended to be an advocate for minorities who are missing and to help families through the traumatic experience in honor of the life and legacy of Jelani Day.

The 25-year-old was found dead in Peru, Illinois in September of 2021. He was reported missing the week before, and was last seen in Bloomington, where he was a graduate student at Illinois State University.

The people who run the “Justice for Jelani Day” Facebook page announced the creation of the Jelani Day Foundation Scholarship for seniors attending Danville High School, Day’s alma mater. The announcement stated, “Jelani had dreams of giving back to his community and being a service to others, and even in his absence that dream will not be unfulfilled”.

This month, JDF was pleased to celebrate the launch of the Jelani Day Foundation Scholarship and honored to award their very first recipient.

Nevaeh Jones, of Danville High School, was honored with a $500 scholarship based on her community involvement, life experiences, academic achievement, and her scholarship essay.

The Foundation is looking forward to keeping Day’s legacy alive through more scholarship opportunities in the future. To support his legacy and families of color while searching for a loved one, folks can donate to JDF. Additionally, JDF will host the Annual All White Gala to celebrate one year since the foundation’s inception. You can follow Justice for Jelani Day on Facebook for more information.