“Walk a Mile in Our Shoes” memorial calls to end gun violence

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – With violence in Lexington seemingly more present now, families in the bluegrass are reeling from the deaths of their loved ones, whether it’s been recent or years past.

“I love all these families out here, but I wish we never met, especially I wish we met but not like this,” says Ricardo Franklin, the brother of someone lost to gun violence.

The death of a loved one is always difficult, especially when that loved one is taken suddenly by an act of violence. Saturday was the second annual “Walk a Mile in Our Shoes” memorial at Lexington’s historic courthouse, where survivors of gun violence victims came together to share pictures, wisdom and memories.

“We’re all hurting in different ways and we grieve differently but we’re here together and I think that speaks volumes, it’s very powerful to see how everyone has rebounded and continues to push forward,” says Franklin.

It was an emotional day as family members begged everyone to “put the guns down” and called for harsher punishments of those convicted in the murders. The overall message was to end gun violence and stop the suffering felt by those who knew the victims.

“It shows people the path that we now have to walk for justice for the loved ones that we’ve lost,” says Kenya Ballard, a survivor to four gun violence victims, in regards to the empty shoes lining the courthouse stairs.

Family members say they hope to carry on the legacies of those lost to gun violence and though it will take time to put a stop to the senseless killing.

“I’m hoping and I’m praying that over time, we can get it under control for our kids, for the younger kids because at the rate we’re going, we’re losing our generation and we’re not going to have anything,” says Ballard.

A bittersweet day dedicated to lives lost too soon.

“We’re now walking for them,” says Ballard. “We are their voice.”

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