By Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The group Mothers in Charge held its annual “As We Remember Them” event in Center City last night, honoring those murdered during the past year.
Dozens gathered at The Friends Center to reflect and remember. It’s a pain that never really goes away said Mothers in Charge founder and director Dorothy Johnson-Speight, who lost her son more than a decade ago.
“They are our roses in December,” she said. “We have memories but that’s all we have. We want more.”
The Philadelphia Police Department says this year’s homicide rate is 38% lower than last year. Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel is not calling that a “win” but he credits officers and groups like Mothers in Charge for showing the loss life is not just a number to be tallied.
“There’s a lot of work in this area to make sure the families understand we don’t take this lightly,” Bethel said, “that we do have empathy and we do understand what is going on in the streets.”
Johnson-Speight said the reduction in homicides shows groups like Mothers in Charge are making an impact, but more needs to be done.
“Help each other realize that violence is not the answer,” she said. “We’ve got to find alternatives to conflict.”
Knowing all too well the consequences of conflict, is Mrs. Wayne Walker-Lipscomb. Her son Officer Moses Walker Junior was gunned down a year ago, and she hopes people take to heart the impact they can make.
“All it takes is one person to make a difference,” Walker-Lipscomb said, “but together we can do it.”
There were also portraits of young lives frozen in time, provided by “Lost Dreams on Canvas,” a program that connects artists with grieving families.