Fudge Foundation Founder Dion Green hosts a remembrance event every year since the shooting happened, but he said every year the pain of losing his father, Derrick Fudge, is still there.
“I’m happy that it rained because it washed away the evil and the hate that was on this street, so now we’re about to get surrounded with nothing but love,” Dion Green said.
Green said the event is for community and families to come together to celebrate and remember their loved ones lost on August 4, 2019.
“Heal as a community,” Dion Green said. “You can’t spell community without unity, so we all have to come together and lean on each others’ shoulders.”
Survivors, family members and advocates against gun violence spoke during the event. Songs were dedicated to the nine that died and their loved ones.
For survivors of mass shootings and their families, like Donita Cosey, it doesn’t get easier, especially as mass shootings continue across the country.
“It’s continuing to happen so much, it’s hard to really recover,” Cosey said. “You know, you have your good days and your bad days, but because it’s continuing to happen so much in the community, there’s no way to really get past it.”
For Dion Green’s daughter, Niara, she said she misses having her grandfather around, but his loss has taught her a wise lesson to pass on to others.
“Don’t give up on life,” Niara said. “It’s not hard, just push yourself.”
Ten doves were released during the event. Nine for the victims of the shooting, and one for Dion Green’s cousin Deputy Matthew Yates.
Once the event ended, Fudge Foundation Board Member Gerald Green said he wants it to inspire people to go out and make a difference in putting an end to gun violence.
“I hope it inspires others to take a step forward outside of their comfort zone, align with their community, and just do something positive,” Gerald Green said.
Several organizations were also present to encourage voter registration for the November general election.