Vigil Against Violence remembers 2012 homicide victims

21st annual vigil brings together families, community
Feb. 28, 2013 @ 10:47 PM

For 21 years, there has been an annual Vigil Against Violence in Durham. Sponsored by Parents of Murdered Children, Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham and Durham Congregations in Action, each vigil includes names read aloud, singing, tears, smiles, applause and comfort for those affected by violence in Durham. What changes each year is the list of names of homicide victims. Also new are those who come to the vigil grieving the loss of their loved ones.

Glenda Fowler came to her first Vigil Against Violence Thursday night at Shepherds House United Methodist Church on Driver Street. Her son, Kareem Fowler, 33, was gunned down near N.C. Central University in April 2010. He was a father of two.

The pain is just as strong and the void is just as deep now as it was then, Fowler said. “I still miss him, but I’ll see him again,” she said. Fowler brought a childhood friend along for support. “I didn’t think I could handle it, but I’m glad that I came,” she said.

Fowler was among about a dozen people who came to the microphone and spoke the names of family members killed before 2012.

Ronal Green spoke the name of his sister Larscenna Gardenez. She was the oldest sister and he the youngest brother, and he could talk to her about anything, he said. Green said he thought the vigil was touching.

The Southern High School Chorus sang two songs, and students among them spoke the names of their own loved ones who have been killed, including Kaaylon Pamplin. Pamplin, 17, a student at Hillside High School, was shot to death in October.

Other 2012 homicide victims were:

Joey Derek Squire, Timothy McGhee, Paul Anthony Noel Jr., Jose Fernando Garcia, Abdelgadir Mergany Abdelganir, Jesus Contreras, Faraah Anderson, Farrahquan Glenn, Carl Anthony Presley, Mayra Judith Mejia-Romero, Jaronte Deshon Davis, Altaree Norris, Donald Watson, Antoine Quinton Alston, Zacchaeus Ormand, Dennis Lamb, Wayne Preston Cross, Noel Rivera, Emily Lopez, Jelani Dandy, Mohammed Arfan Sundal, Johnny Danilo Villatoro, Stephen Curtis Hoyle and Christopher Eric Duke. Candles were lit and a bell was sounded for each person.

Rev. John Gumbo, whose church hosted the event, prayed for God to help them forgive one another, throw away anger and to live in harmony with their neighbors.

Nikki Vangsnes of Durham Friends Meeting called for people to be loving, and said that “to love is to disarm.”

Effie Steele, who presided over the vigil, said that when someone in Durham is murdered, “it’s no longer you or us. It’s us. It’s our community, our state.”

Even if you don’t personally know someone who was murdered, she said, “it happened to us because you know us.” she said.