Over 100 people attended a block party in the Bronx, New York City, to celebrate the remarkable recovery of an 11-year-old girl who suffered severe burns when a friend poured boiling water on her face.
Jamoneisha Merritt was at a sleepover on Aug. 7 when one of the girls in attendance dumped scalding water onto her, resulting in second- and third-degree burns that covered 85 percent of her face. She also suffered burns to her shoulders, back and chest.
Jamoneisha was rushed to the hospital where she remained for 11 days. She is now on the road to recovery, and she is in good spirits.
"I can't be angry," she told WABC. "I have to be happy."
Jamoneisha attended her neighborhood's annual block party on Aug. 24, just a few days after being released from the hospital. Her mother, Ebony Merritt, said it was amazing to see her daughter laughing and dancing after such a horrifying experience.
"She's very happy. She loves to dance," Ebony told the New York Daily News. "She's a people person."
"We're doing a tribute to my daughter and also awareness of bullying and domestic violence," she said, adding that she was "devastated" when she learned of the incident at the sleepover.
Other parents brought their kids to the party in a show of solidarity with Jamoneisha.
Alina Dow told WPIX that she and her young children participated in the festivities "just to let the little girl know that she is supported and she has friends and this not OK."
The attack on Jamoneisha was reportedly inspired by what's known as the "Hot Water Challenge," in which kids throw scalding water onto friends when they don't expect it.
Aniya Grant Stuart, 12, was arrested and charged with felony assault.
Jamoneisha and Aniya had reportedly had a dispute before the assault took place.
"Her and her friend got into an argument and she told her if she goes to sleep they were going to do something to her," Jamoneisha's cousin, Yolanda Richardson, told WNBC.
Jamoneisha's family believes that Aniya's mother should also see punishment, since she reportedly waited 90 minutes before calling 911.
"I think that her momma should have been charged too," Jamoneisha's aunt, Peggy, told the New York Daily News. "Because she was there. Too much clean up after the fact trying to sweep it under the rug."
Due to her injuries, Jamoneisha is likely to miss the start of the school year and will have to be home-schooled.