BALTIMORE (WJZ) – A celebration of life was held in West Baltimore Saturday during the neighborhood’s annual block party.

This year, instead of having a huge blowout party like in the past, organizers chose to incorporate a public memorial right on Pennsylvania Avenue near Triangle Park.

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Community members spent the afternoon hanging pictures of loved ones who are no longer with us and names with messages of love on trees.

Bringing people together across cultures in West Baltimore, the No Boundaries Coalition and Jubilee Arts partnered up once again to host the annual block party at Pennsylvania Avenue Triangle Park.

“It’s great. It’s just like one of the first times we were able to be out in the community since the pandemic, so we’re happy to be back in a safe way,” said Ashiah Parker, executive director of the No Boundaries Coalition.

This year, the lives of loved ones lost in the community are also being honored and celebrated.

“I know that funerals have looked different, mourning has looked different, so we wanted to create a space for those that wanted to,” said Nora Howell of Jubilee Arts.

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Each picture hanging on the tree symbolizes a life lost this past year, some from Covid or natural causes. And each orange ribbon symbolizes a victim of violence.

“It’s just been a hard year.  It’s been a hard year for everyone,” Howell said.

This comes as Baltimore Police reports at least 121 homicides so far this year as of Saturday, up 12 from this time last year. The two most recent were in the 4900 block of Liberty Heights Avenue and the 2400 block of Calverton Heights Avenue.

These are within hours of a triple shooting that killed a 31-year-old man and sent two other people to the hospital.

Organizers say the community memorial will stay up for the next week for people to stop by and pay their respects to the lives lost this past year.

 

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