Remembering victims of gun violence: Memorial to the Lost dedicated in Harrisburg

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Gun violence is still a big problem in Harrisburg.

On Sunday a group of interfaith leaders held a dedication of the Memorial to the Lost in the front yard of the Hadee Mosque.

The memorial consists of 80 shirts with the names of people who lost their lives to gun violence in the Harrisburg area during the last five years.

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The hope is people walking by will stop to read and reflect on how they can help.

“It’s amazing how many people know at least somebody, even in a year’s worth of t-shirts, let alone five years,” Gerald Rhoades, chairman of the Harrisburg chapter of Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence, said.

Rhoades is working toward tangible solutions to stop the violence, including working with youth to teach them healthy ways to handle conflict.

“Learning to talk through their concerns and their feelings rather than acting quickly and maybe being sorry later,” Rhoades said.

Rickey Banks didn’t lose his life but did lose his sight after being shot in the head more than 26 years ago.

“It’s all about throwing the guns down, pick up a book, and educate ourselves and our young ones,” Banks said.

He’s doing his part to talk to young people in Harrisburg about their choices.

“I can’t do it all by myself, so that’s why I’m asking the mayors, the chief of police, the city councils, the state reps, we’re all in this together,” Banks said.

Rhoades says it’s not just a neighborhood effort. He wants legislation to pass, including limiting gun purchases to one a month.

“To me, that sounds like a lot, one a month, but those who are making money selling guns on the street need to buy many more than that to make it worth their while,” Rhoades said.

One thing that’s clear is that it’s just as important to prevent violence as it is to honor the memories of those who succumbed to it.

“We will not forget the who’s. We will not forget the why’s. And we will not forget the how’s. We will remember,” Rev. Dr. James Jackson said.

The memorial will be up for a few more days at Hadee Mosque before it moved to another location where more people can see and learn about the lives lost.

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