Buffalo, NY (WIVB) - One week after 13-year-old Lanasha Rollerson was stabbed to death in Buffalo, the community came together to remember her and call for end to violence.
People from all neighborhoods and walks of life came to Buffalo's Martin Luther King Park Sunday night, for the prayer vigil.
Anti-violence activists say, the simple act of coming together can be effective, both for bringing closure and changing the dynamic of a community.
"It really helps in a big way, because it brings families together," explained Murray Holman, executive director of Stop the Violence Coalition, which helped organize and spread the word about the vigil. "It shows us that we love each other; we're not going to let one person just ruin a whole family."
Rollerson's aunt says the family found that to be true, in the days both before and after the girl's body was discovered. Relatives had fanned out, going door-to-door looking for someone who had seen Rollerson.
"Across the city, I've been welcomed and greeted with hugs. A lot of hurt people behind this situation, because everybody lost a baby. It hit home to everyone. So we want to give back and let them know that we understand, and even though we're having a private service, we're willing to share in the community with everyone who cares for her," said Kareema Morris.
Community peacemakers say this tragedy also presents an opportunity.
Now that people's attention is focused on violence, they say, it's time to start doing something about it; start taking back the streets, before the pain lessens and the memories fade.
"First of all, we have to learn to share information. When something happens, we have to learn to share the information and get the information to the right authorities," Dwayne Ferguson, from MAD DADS of Buffalo, said. "Our work is not finished yet, in our community. We still have to come together and do what needs to be done."
Kareema Morris has a sense that change is beginning.
"When I was walking through, door to door, I felt it then. The vibration is that the streets are coming back... they're not going to allow this anymore."
Lanasha Rollerson's funeral will be held on Thursday.
Twenty-one-year-old Darshawn Morris confessed to police that he killed Rollerson. He is charged with second-degree murder for her death.
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