Hundreds pack Baltimore mayor's vigil for victims of violence
BALTIMORE (WBFF) -As 2017 comes to a close, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is reflecting on the lives lost to violence this year.
Thursday night the mayor held a vigil to honor the lives of those killed in the city in 2017.
The event was held inside the War Memorial Building in Downtown Baltimore. Hundreds of people attended the night of remembrance and hope.
Nearly every person in the packed auditorium held signs with single words.
"Determination, excite, love, courageous, aspire" were among the words held in the air to send a message of unity.
One man said: "Were trying to excite the community to stop the shootings and the homicides, stop killing eachother."
Millie Brown had the word, "Listen." She said: "We need to listen to the [children]. So many of them are crying out, and there are so many deaf ears and they're crying out in so many ways, and because they're not heard, this is the result."
As 2017 marks a grim year for Baltimore, the War Memorial Building was filled with families still trying to heal.
Gregory Riddick Sr., lost his son December 10, 2016.
"It's been kind of miserable, to say the least. We have a hole and our hearts are broken, holes in our soul, but we are motivated to make some kind of difference," he said.
Sharon Akins' son was one of the first murders of 2017. Since then more than 300 families have joined in grief.
"Nothing's been done," she said. "We're up to 343 and the year's not even over yet. What are they going to do?"
This night was filled with prayer, song and hope for 2018.
Riddick said: "It seems impossible, but we have to dig deep. We have to start with ourselves, and then it branches out."
Hundreds of brave families are still hoping to forgive.
Dontay Barksdale had the word "miracle." He said: "I have miracle and I believe that I am actually a miracle, I was able to overcome educate myself and I believe that all the guys on the corner can become a miracle, just like me."
The vigil lasted for two hours. The mayor says she wants the families to know they're loved ones are not forgotten and she's asking that we go into the new year with encouragement for those families and the city.