Home Madison “She was an angel. It’s truly heartbreaking.” Madison to celebrate life of...

“She was an angel. It’s truly heartbreaking.” Madison to celebrate life of Anisa Scott on Saturday


“I remember when we’d be over there playing cards and Anisa’s grandma had this snack cabinet. I just happened to be on Zoom with them the other day and I saw this snack cabinet and it brought me to tears,” says Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. “Anisa would always bring me little snacks out of that cabinet. She was just a beautiful young girl. It’s just so sad that this has happened to her. I’m just hoping that the community comes out and supports her and her family and that we give her the home-going celebration that she deserves.”

On Aug. 11, Anisa Scott was in a car with someone known to her family on Madison east side when a shooter fired into the car striking Anisa in the head.

Two days later, Anisa was taken off life support at 11:11 a.m. Her family chose that specific time because she was shot on Aug. 11 and was 11 years old.

Mourners gathered at Brittingham Park in Madison Aug. 13 to honor the life of Anisa Scott. They released balloons into the sky (below) at exactly 11:11 a.m., the moment Anisa’s family took her off life support. (Photos by A. David Dahmer)

“I had the opportunity to pray with the family a day before they pulled her off life support,” Johnson says. “This is a strong family and a spiritual family and I’m saddened for them. We’re just trying to play our small part as they go through this grieving process.”

Johnson and his Boys and Girls Club of Dane County are helping to plan “A Celebration of Life” for Anisa, a variety of beautiful events that will take place this Saturday.

Anisa Scott with sister, Anija Ragland

“We want this to be a ‘heaven on earth’ celebration for Alisa. I’ve known her family for a long, long time,” Johnson tells Madison365. “Anisa and her family have benefitted from services at the Boys and Girls Club. I knew Anisa. I used to play cards with her grandmother and great grandmother. Their family grew up in the projects with me in Chicago.”

Johnson happened to be on vacation when Anisa’s great grandmother called him four times. 

“I had left my phone in the basement and was outside doing yard work and I told my wife, ‘This must be important.’ When I called her back and she told me what had happened, I just couldn’t sleep the rest of the night,” Johnson recalls.

The family asked Johnson if he would coordinate the details for Anisa’s funeral.

A young Anisa Scott, right, with her mother, Ashley Rios, and sister, Anija Ragland. (Family photo)

“I just want it to be beautiful. That’s why you’re going to see monster trucks and you will see bikes out there. Anisa had a dirt bike. She loved dirt bikes, so we are going to incorporate that into the Unity March,” Johnson says. “We really hope to see the community come together in unity and that’s what we’re going to try to do.” 

The celebration will start at the Wisconsin State Capitol building – at Pickney St. and East Washington Ave., specifically – and community members will take part in a “unity march” down E. Washington Ave. to Breese Stevens Field where there will be a private funeral. 


“The family wants the Unity March. They asked that we call it a Unity March because they want to bring people together in unity to end gun violence but to also pay their respects to Anisa,” Johnson says.

“Anisa’s body will be in a low-rider monster truck and we will try to put on a really beautiful service for her,” Johnson says.

The public will be able to view the funeral on a 175-inch television that will be outside of the stadium that will also be Livestreamed.

Anisa Scott
(Photo courtesy Rafael Ragland)

Immediately after the funeral, the public will be invited in, socially distanced and 50 people at a time, to pay respects to the family. Johnson says that they are asking people to wear red or white or a combination of red and white. Anisa’s favorite color was red.

The location for the event, in case of rain, will be The Sylvee.

“I looked at her obituary and she is going to have a beautiful program and a beautiful ceremony. We are going to celebrate her life. This will be a different kind of celebration,” Johnson says. “[Local filmmaker] Rafael [Ragland], her stepfather, did a beautiful video of her praying. She was an angel. It’s truly heartbreaking.”

Ragland made another beautiful video (below) that has almost 500 shares on Facebook.

Last Friday, Amy Arenz, CEO of Concero, donated $10,000 to cover Anisa’s funeral expenses.

“I’m thankful that so many people are stepping up from the CEO that provided the $10,000 gift [for funeral expenses] to others who have donated time and effort and space,” Johnson says. “We are trying our very best to make this an unbelievable homegoing celebration for Anisa.”