HARTFORD — — Henrietta Beckman will have mixed feelings Sunday when she attends the 7th annual Day of Remembrance at city hall.
The difficult part will be reliving the pain and anguish associated with son Randy's death in 2002.
But she will also be celebrating her son's life and helping others cope with the loss of a family member to violence.
"It's like a tribute to Randy," said Beckman, who has attended every remembrance day, "and the mothers need to know they aren't forgotten and their children aren't forgotten."
That's the main goal of Mothers United Against Violence, the group sponsoring the event: To remember the 328 victims who lost their lives in the city since 2000 and to give their families support and comfort.
The organization was formed by the Rev. Henry Brown and a group of mothers who had lost children to violence. When a city resident is killed, Brown and the mothers offer the victims' families support, and hold anti-violence rallies and prayer vigils at the site of their deaths.
"We formed this group to give mothers an opportunity to come together and share their pain and to try and bring awareness to the community," Brown said.
Sunday's event is also aimed at drawing attention to the fact that many of the killings in Hartford since 2000 are still unsolved.
"We want to help keep their names out there," Brown said. "We are looking for justice. No one has a right to kill and go unpunished."
Brown said the remembrance is being held at city hall for the second consecutive year to send a message to city officials.
Brown credited city council President rJo Winch for her involvement in the event, but said more city officials need to step up and work toward reducing and ending violent crime.
"We need the city council to take notice and get involved," Brown said. "We want to put them on the spot. We are not going to go away."
Sunday's Day of Remembrance will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in the atrium of city hall, 550 Main St. For information, call Henrietta Beckman at 860-727-9887 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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