The City of Pembroke Pines, Florida, has declared April 26th as “Miya Marcano Day.” The day honors the late college student who would have turned 20-years-old today.

The 19-year-old was a student at Valencia College in Orlando when she was reported missing on September 24th last year. ESSENCE previously reported that her body was discovered in a wooded area after a desperate week-long search.

According to police reports, a maintenance worker kidnapped the teen at the apartment complex where she lived and worked. He gained access to her apartment using a master key, abducted her and killed her.

Since Marcano’s tragic murder, her family has worked tirelessly to change laws and keep her legacy alive. They started The Miya Marcano Foundation with a mission to “support, educate and provide resources to the families of missing persons while advocating for the protection of students and our most vulnerable population.”

In March, Florida officials passed Miya’s Law, a bill that mandates more protection for tenants. The bill, which passed unanimously by the Florida Senate, requires landlords and building managers to conduct background checks for all employees, reinforces requirements regarding access to individual units, and requires landlords to give tenants 24 hours’ notice if repairs need to occur.

Miya’s father, Marlon Marcano expressed his gratitude to lawmakers following the bill’s passage.

“The past few months have been unbelievable, to say the least. What my family and I have been going through, words can never explain. We send a special heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you. Miya is my world. She’s my baby girl, and I know today that she is smiling,” he said.

The family of Miya Marcano was presented with the key to the city of Pembroke Pines by Mayor Frank Ortis last week. The foundation named in her honor also recently launched The Safe and Secure Accreditation Program, which conducts audits of apartment complexes to ensure tenant safety and address concerns.

TOPICS: