PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A group of gun violence prevention activists locked arms in Providence Friday evening to promote peace within the community.
The group stood arm in arm off of Broad Street, praying for those who lost their lives to gun violence and fighting to make Rhode Island a safer place to live.
For some in attendance, the gathering is deeply personal.
About a mile away, Diana Garlington’s daughter, Essence, was shot and killed back in 2011. She was only 21 years old and left behind a young son.
“We don’t want our families listed as an unsolved murder, or a number, we want justice, we want justice to be served,” Garlington said.
For the last few years, Garlington has organized the gathering, which she said promotes peace, remembers victims and offers support to those whose lives were impacted by gun violence.
“We need to step it up, we need to reach out to these people and let them know that this is our community that we’re fighting for,” Garlington said.
To this day, Garlington said no one was arrested in connection to Essence’s murder. She believes her family’s story can make a difference and inspire others to find hope.
“As hard as it is, I feel like if I didn’t stand up and carry on, and keep her legacy alive, then I wouldn’t be the mother that I need to be for Essence,” she said.
Garlington said she plans to continue to hold the gatherings and invites people of all backgrounds to join her group next year.