CHICAGO—Maxwell Emcays, founder of Never Forget Chicago, brought at least 500 families together at the Daley Center located in downtown Chicago, to remember and honor more than 2,000 victims of violence. All 500 families received sweatshirts with their loved ones’ names and pictures on the front of the shirts at the Dec. 3 event.
A brightly lit tree with personalized snowflakes for each victim will stand in front of the Daley Center until January 1. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, every life is different and unique and should be cherished and respected, according to organizers.
“So many families fall through the cracks and are forgotten, and continue to mourn and hurt in silence. Through remembrance, there is unity, healing, and most importantly, change,” Emcays said.
At Final Call press time, the total number of murders within the city of Chicago for the year 2022 was reported at 643. Further data compilation for all crimes in Chicago can be viewed at chicagopolice.org under the statistics and data tab.
Sheena Stone, who is grieving the loss of her then 25-year-old son Anthony Jackson, who was killed on September 19, 2021, stated, “This is a sisterhood, a family bond, that no one really wants to be a part of. So, it’s always good to be around people who share the same experience.
Anything I can do to remember him, although he is going to always be in my heart, his spirit dwells with me every single day, I am going to do that. I am going to show support and love to other mothers and families that are going through the same thing that I’m going through.”
Others were thankful for an event that brought them all together.
“My son, Robert Gonzales was murdered on August 31, 2013. I am really grateful for this event. It’s been really hard, especially around the holidays, and not everyone remembers our deceased loved ones. My son was only 21 years old,” Delores Gonzales said.
Rickia Fountain, only nine years old, lost her brother Demetrius Hardy who was just 15 at the time of his death on April 8, 2020. “He was an important person in my life, he would always help me with my homework,” she said. “I miss him a lot.”
Learn more about Never Forget Chicago at: maxwell.emcays.com/neverforgetchi
Shawntell Muhammad can be contacted at [email protected].