BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Organizations in Baltimore and across the country took part in a day of remembrance of those lost to homicide.

Friday marked National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. So far in Baltimore, police have reported 246 homicides in 2020.

As families grieve, a local nonprofit is helping them cope with their losses.

Bernadette Wallace lost her son to murder.

“Losing a child, losing any loved one is the most horrific thing you could ever imagine,” she said.

Gina Grabes, whose 22-year-old son died in a senseless act of gun violence this year, said she cries every day.

“One would have never thought he would have died that way,” she said.

The phone call Grabes got telling her of her son’s death “just changed everything for me.”

“I’m still just really stunned and hurt by the fact that he was murdered,” she said.

Each person has their own story of loss and perseverance.

“It is an experience that I wish on no one,” Wallace said.

While their wounds never heal, Roberta’s House in Baltimore hopes to help families through the grieving and coping process.

“Grief is a personal journey, there is no time limit,” Veronica Land-Davis, the organization’s executive director, “and how you deal with your grief, we create again a safe place for families to learn how to deal with this.”

Roberta’s House and the Black Mental Health Alliance are hosting a virtual town hall meeting Friday evening called “Moving From Pain to Purpose: A Call to Action.”

“We want to make sure that we communicate, we educate our community on how we can come together in order to heal Baltimore,” Land-Davis said.

The event will focus on the impact murder has on families and neighborhoods, ways to support survivors and how to best stop violence in the community.

“If we work with families, then we work with the community, if we heal communities, then we heal societies,” Land-Davis said.

Their efforts mean a lot to family members of those who lost their lives.

“To know someone cares about my pain and what I’m going through… it makes me feel good,” Grabes said.

The “Restoring the Vigil Project” will also honor murder victims during a virtual memorial ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday.


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