HOUSTON (TX) - The City of Houston hosted its annual "Day of Remembrance" event at City Hall on Sunday night.
Family of murder victims gathered to honor their loved ones and support one another. Names of the more than 300 individuals murdered in Houston over the past year were read aloud, and displayed throughout the evening.
Present alongside the families were city officials and members of various support resource groups, including the "Parents of Murdered Children and Surviving Family Members of Homicide" which provides support programs for families suffering such a loss.
Speakers shared stories of successes that have come from the advocacy of families who've lost loved ones to murder.
For those in attendance, regardless of whether their loss was new or years old, the event brought forth raw emotions.
"At night is when I feel that he is missed the most," said Calandrian Simpson Kemp through tear filled eyes, recalling her son George who was killed three years ago, "because it's hard as a mother to go in your house, and you want your child to be safe, to close and lock your door and know you still have to pass by an empty room."
Many in attendance said they found strength through the bond with other families suffering the same loss.
"These are my new friends," said Sandra Johnson, who's son Hank was murdered 8 years ago over a guitar. "It's a club that we are all in, and it's not a very good club. It's a horrible club, but we are together in it."
Families who have lost loved ones to homicide are reminded to reach out to the Mayor's office of Crime Victims Assistance, which provides a variety of support.
For more on their resources, visit www.houstontx.gov/mayor/crimevictims