Amid a festive atmosphere at an event in Hartford on Sunday, families shared a common bond having lost a loved one to violence.
“I hurt all the time and I’m going to hurt a long time,” said Eric Allen, of Hartford.
Allen says his two brothers died in a shooting in Hartford in February.
Gunfire took the life of Eddie Garcia last year.
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“He was very loving and caring. He was a good friend and brother and a good son and a good dad,” said Beverly Garcia, of Hartford.
Garcia left behind a daughter and had a son on the way.
“It’s important for us to be here because we want justice and it’s also important for us to show support for any other family that’s going through the same thing we are going through," said Garcia.
These were some of the families that took part in the 16th Annual Day of Remembrance.
Members from Mothers United Against Violence put it on with the Community Safety Coalition at Sigourney Square Park.
“It’s a sense of community to know that you’re not the only one that lost someone. It not only affects you but it affects the whole community,” said Freddie Graves, Mothers United Against Violence member.
The groups offer support for families from the time of the loss and beyond.
That includes support for mental health and resources.
Families say they hope others don’t have to face the same heartache and if people see something, they should say something.
“You need to talk. It may be your family member. It could be your brother, your sister, and everything,” said Allen.
“We’re hopeful. We’re prayerful that people will put the guns down so we won’t have to hold these types of events so we can come together like this for good times, not bad times,” said Rev. Henry Brown, Mothers United Against Violence executive director.