PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It was a somber scene outside the Philadelphia Art Museum Monday as the community came together on National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.
Photos of several dozen homicide victims from the Delaware Valley sat on the Art Museum steps as their names were read aloud during the Angels Roll Call.READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Police To Provide Update On Anti-Violence Efforts
“We’re recognizing by coming here and talking about our loved ones that we are not forgetting,” says Wilfredo Rojas.
He co-founded the National homicide Justice Alliance with his wife, Aleido Garcia. Their son, Alejandro Rojas Garcia, was gunned down in Feltonville in January 2015.
“Homicide is something that’s occurring not only in Philadelphia, but all over the world,” says Rojas. “(This event) links us to those souls that have lost someone to homicide.”
This Philadelphia Day of Remembrance also calls for the fight for justice to continue, but…READ MORE: Why It Could Be A Good Idea To Ditch Your Exercise Watch
“Not against the police,” Rojas says. “We have to work with them, to try to find a solution to this problem. Every day you’re getting another murder in the tri-state area.”
Lisa Espinosa’s son, Raymond Pantoja, was murdered in April 2016.
“I’m his voice,” she says. “I am here because our homicide rate in our city is very high. We need to put a message out there that it’s not okay to get away with murder.”
She says Day of Remembrance serves a therapeutic purpose as well.
“We’re stronger together so when we come together we let them know, think of happy thoughts and we try to give them strength, just get by today,” adds Espinosa. “To grieve is really hard, but just getting by and taking it one day at a time.”MORE NEWS: 'When I Finally Got To Be Elvira, That's When My Life Calmed Down': Mistress Of The Dark Peels Back The Curtain
The “Dance of Love” was held to show a spirit of unity and resilience. The hundred or so people in attendance also prayed together.