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CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – How long should roadside memorials be allowed to stay up for? A measure to limit makeshift memorials for those who’ve died to 15 days has been tabled in the City of Camden. The councilman who proposed the ordinance put the brakes on it after hearing from grieving families.
To some they’re a place to gather and grieve, but over time, there are those who would rather see roadside memorials go away.
“It’s been going on for decades here in the City of Camden,” said Camden City Councilman Angel Fuentes.
Fuentes proposed an ordinance to limit roadside memorials to 15 days. He says it’s about respecting property owners’ rights and limiting kids’ exposure to reminders of homicides and tragic accidents.
He tabled the measure Tuesday night as advocates for grieving families spoke out at a city council meeting.
“I sort of put the brakes, there are legitimate concerns from both sides,” said Fuentes.
However, no vote doesn’t mean no action.
As a result of the meeting, the city is now acting on a proposal to create a trauma recovery center where victims’ families can get counseling and bereavement services.
Nyzia Easterling from Saving Grace Ministries is spearheading the effort and will run the recovery center.
“What I was asking the city was, can we bring services and can we do more things to assist the families and the children to be able to know how to grieve in the appropriate way?” said Easterling.
Starting in May, there will be trained trauma healing facilitators at the Isabel Miller Community Center who will come alongside grieving families and, in particular, mentor youth who are victimized by witnessing violence.
“All I wanted to do is sell drugs and hustle,” said Andre Spruel.
Spruel will be among those who will work with youth about finding a positive path through traumatizing environments.
“These kids have been through a lot and you wouldn’t know it just by seeing them because they appear to be happy and normal, but deep inside they’re really hurt,” said Spruel.