A motorcycle memorial
Posted at: 07/31/2012 4:01 PM
| Updated at: 07/31/2012 6:28 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren | WHEC.com
A local woman has made it her mission in life to honor victims of violence in a way that’s all her own. She’s taken her passion for her community and her love of motorcycles and combined them.
Bernita Hawkins says the process of airbrushing the faces of homicide victims on her bike was an emotional one, but she wouldn’t change it for the world.
Hawkins finished this project a couple months ago and in that time the affirmation has continued to pour in.
Hawkins said, “Looking at it after it was all done and seeing the vision really come to life. To this day, I still can’t describe the feeling. My bike never looked better.”
But it’s not the look of the bike that Hawkins is concerned with, it’s the heart that went into it.
Hawkins said, “I also have a niece and nephew who was murdered here in Rochester and it was something just for everyone to remember.”
Her niece and nephew were the first faces she used and she just kept going.
Hawkins said, “I have an excellent airbrush artist that saw my vision and we just worked on it for a couple of weeks.”
Each victim, another face, another story, another life cut short.
Hawkins said, “You may know one or two people on here, but to really see how many people have actually been murdered here in Rochester and knowing that this is only one bike.”
Danita Forney, whose son’s picture is on the bike, said, “My son got killed back in 2008, it’s been five years now. I'm happy that she did it. I am. I’m really happy that she did it.”
Erlene Bennett, whose has loved ones featured on bike, said, “Fred was killed in 1998 and they haven’t found his killer yet.”
Hawkins said, “Because it touches other people's lives, then that's what makes me continue to do what I do.”
Even if that means using another one of her vehicles to do it.
Hawkins said, “This is complete, this is done. What’s next? My little PT Cruiser is next. I bought the car to also do the same thing I did with my motorcycle.”
Hawkins just started getting into riding about a year ago and she started doing a lot of anti-violence rides and marches. That’s where she got the idea.