PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Community members gathered to remember victims of violent crime at the fourth annual Peoria Crime Victims’ Vigil in Peoria, Saturday, April 30.

The Peoria Chapter of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice held the vigil at Unity House of Prayer. The event coincides with National Crime Victims Rights Week.

Clara Underwood-Forman, co-chair coordinator for the Peoria Chapter, said it’s a safe space for victims, family, and friends to honor their lost loved ones and share experiences.

“I’m a survivor as well. I lost both my sons to gun violence and to be able to see others get help, I wish I had the help when I went through it,” Underwood-Forman said. “Having those avenues or resources is tremendous. It really helps people to be able to heal.”

Underwood-Forman said survivors can find support at the vigil and heal with each other.

“You know, you kind of get better, but you never get over,” Underwood-Forman said. “So, to be able to leave here united with other mothers that have lost children, fathers too, that have lost children, to go out stronger here stronger and knowing that they have the support here in the community.”

Tomeka Love, an attendee of the vigil, lost her son, Kanye Stowers, to gun violence in early April. He was a 17-year-old Richwoods High School student from Peoria.

“He said Kanye, Kanye, Mom, Kanye’s dead. I immediately just collapsed to the floor,” Love said.

Love said the vigil was an emotional experience, but it gave her a sense of peace.

“I felt loved, I felt like I’m not by myself, I feel like I can, like family, because they can feel what I feel,” Love said. “Anybody else going through the same thing I’m going through, a lost child or out there with unsolved murders, or going through the same grief I’m going through, I think they should all come and step in and participate and listen to some of these women’s stories because we all are in the same circle.”

Underwood-Forman said anyone is welcome to come join the chapter and its efforts. They meet every third Saturday of the month.