DUNDALK, Md. (WJZ)– For the first time in months, the family of one of Baltimore’s most high-profile murder cases speaks to WJZ. Sunday, Phylicia Barnes’ sisters attended a gathering of people who understand their pain.

Adam May has the story.

At the summertime picnic, families that were total strangers bonded over the loss of loved ones. Murder victims were remembered, like Phylicia Barnes– an honors student killed in 2010 while visiting relatives in Baltimore.

“We’re all here for the same reason. Because we’ve all had someone taken away from our family way too soon,” Deena Barnes, Phylicia Barnes’ sister, said.

Phylicia Barnes’ sisters were invited by the group’s founder.

“I’m the mother of a murdered son,” Daphne Alston said.

Alston lost her son in a 2008 unsolved shooting in Harford County. Since then, she’s turned grief into action.

“When people leave here, we want them to go back and start committees in the communities, volunteer in schools and rec centers so we can reclaim our communities and this is especially to the black community because we are way behind with our children,” Alston said. “We made it through slavery, we made it through the crack-cocaine era, and now, we need to make it through the senseless killing of our young men and women.”

While some here may never see justice, the Barnes family hopes they have some just around the corner. Barnes’ sister’s ex-boyfriend Michael Johnson was arrested just a few months ago.

The family is thankful for so much support.

“We definitely want to give back to the community and get the community more involved and make a change for everyone– every missing victim, every murder victim, everyone,” Deena Barnes said.

They are hoping this gathering stops growing in size each year.

Michael Johnson pleaded not guilty in the Barnes murder. His trial is scheduled for August.

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