‘They are not alone’: Murder victims’ loved ones gather for remembrance, comfort

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Monday was the National Day of Remembrance for Homicide Victims. Advocates and community members Monday commemorated murder victims and surviving family members.

There have been 41 murders this year in the city of Rochester. There were 74 murders in 2022 and 85 in 2021.

Families at a gathering Monday say every day is a struggle without their loved one — but although they are gone, they will never be forgotten.

Master Glover knows all too well about the impacts of violence. His mom and brother were both murdered. Last year he says he escaped a near-death incident — and says it’s a miracle to be standing here today.

“Twice in this leg, twice in this leg, my chest, my back, my wrist, my shoulder,” he said.

Now he works for Rise Up Rochester, giving back and helping save lives.

He was among hundreds who packed the church pews at First Genesis Baptist Church on Monday night to remember their loved ones lost to murder.

Danita Forney’s son Damarri was only 15 when he was murdered in 2008.

“My son, he’s a cold case. They haven’t found his killer, and it’s been 15 years,” she said. “Parents shouldn’t have to bury their child, not at all.”

Forney says this day helps bring families of murdered victims some joy, justice and healing.

Kwanza Howard agrees but says she is still coping with the loss of her 19-year-old daughter Ja’quayla, murdered in 2020 on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“Other families here remembering their loved ones just brings some kind of peace, you know, to you,” she said.

“It’s a sad situation, but remembering, saying their names, and being around people who have lost loved ones, and comforting and just encouraging one another.”

Titiana Bogar’s sons were both murdered. Lyshaun died in 2020 at the age of 18. Just last month, her other son,1 9-year-old Anthony was gunned down on North Clinton Avenue.

She says it’s not only about remembering and honoring the legacy of her boys; it’s about giving support to other families as well.

“To let other mothers and parents know that they are not alone,” Bogar said.

If you have lost a loved one to murder, local organizations like Rise Up Rochester and Roc the Peace offer support and services.