KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Holding up a picture of their loved one, these moms and families are unfortunately bonded by tragedy.

Sunday evening, on this national day of remembrance for homicide victims, several families gathered to pray for their own and those impacted by homicide.

Lavonne Tolefree’s son was killed nearly two years ago.

“This is my son Darnell Tolefree, he got killed in gun violence going home,” Tolefree said.

“And I’m learning about it, how to deal and cope with it. I thank Mother’s In Charge for a lot, that they supported me, to understand the pain and understand all the other ones with a lot of pain.”

Ruth Ricks, who also attended the ceremony, remembers her son, Shawn, who was killed in July 2020.

“It’s extremely hard, it’s day to day. And I continue to pray. Because we need that not just for him, but for so many others that are out there and I began to realize how many it was. July 26 2020, I lost my baby,” Ricks said.

Pamela Dean’s son, Brandon, was killed just a day after his 21st birthday back in 2014. She says the pain is still there.

“It doesn’t go away. The pain hits every day. And sometimes, I just wake up and look at his picture and I smile. And sometimes, I want to scream,” Dean said.

Like many of these families, Dean said she wanted to show up for the other mother’s and families who have been or are now in her shoes.

“To just to let them know I know the pain because I’ve been there. And it doesn’t bring our loved ones back. But we can always be here together, share the love and just support one another.”

During the ceremony, they recited a list of names of those killed by homicide.

The mothers that attended said they hope and pray for a safer future, so nobody else has to experience this kind of pain.

“A lot of them need to stop the violence, because they gotta understand if it was their child that they love. And it’s a hurtful pain to go through, it takes a toll on you,” Tolefree said.