Crime victims, families honored at Unity Plaza

Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:16:56 AM EST   Updated On: Oct 15 2013 06:33:18 AM EDT

VIDEO: The families and loved ones of twenty children and young adults gathered to remembr the lives cut short to violence this year


Friends and families of 20 children and young adults who were killed over the last year were honored Monday night during the 18th Annual Unity Plaza Vigil at Terry Parker High School.  

The 20 victims will join more than 200 others who have become victims of crimes in Jacksonville. 

Janya Soloman, Jordan Davis and Cherish Perrywinkle were just a few of the names read during Monday’s vigil. Their names and photographs join hundreds among the Unity Plaza vigil at Terry Parker High. 

Neta Sessions went to the ceremony Monday to see her niece's name, Megan Simmons, etched in stone.  Simmons and her best friend Jazmine Shelton were killed inside their home during a drive by shooting. Police still have not made an arrest in the teens murders.

“Today marks the two month anniversary since she’s been gone,” said Sessions. “So today has been really difficult for me and my family. We just pray everyday that we get some answers and that’s what we hope for that, someone will get justice for their deaths.”

Many families who joined Monday’s vigil share the same feeling of wanting justice for their loved ones.

“My son is Barry Brooks, Jr. We call him BJ. He was murdered in 2007, unsolved to this day, six years in November,” said Margie Brooks. 

Brooks’ son was killed when he was 19-years-old.

In the midst of prayers for the children killed, their families and organizers also called for an end to the violence on Jacksonville’s streets. 

“It's a tender moment for us. We're proud but we're not proud that we have to be here for this reason,” said Jordan Davis’ mother, Lucia McBath.

“They are youngsters in our community, except for the senseless acts of violence. They would be here today making contributions to our community,” said Compassionate Families’ Glen Mitchell.

There are now 242 victim’s names listed on the bricks at Terry Parker High School.


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