Season of Remembrance honors homicide victims in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis recorded its 300th homicide last week. The families impacted are hoping to find comfort at an event created to help them heal together. The Season of Remembrance will be held Monday at the University of Memphis.

Erika Kelley plans to be there, after attending the annual event in 2019. The mother of three lost her middle child, Dontae, five years ago. She says her son was 23-years-old when he was shot and killed during a robbery in March, 2016.

“Dontae was loved by many,” said Kelley. “His life impacted so many people. He was so full of personality. He would give you the shirt off of his back.”

Kelley said the grief over Dontae’s death never goes away, and only grew when she learned another relative was shot and killed in Memphis Tuesday. The death of that loved one added to the growing number of homicides in the Memphis area, marking 300 so far this year.

“Senseless; my heart is heavy,” said Kelley. “I have a wound that’s always going to be here and just as it tries to close just a little, then you hear of another mother, another father, sister, brother who has to bury their loved ones. It’s painful.”

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich calls the growing number of homicides ‘horrible.’

“It’s hard to talk about wins in this office because any case that we touch, any case that we take to trial, someone’s life has been impacted. A victim has been created, forever impacted by whatever happened to him or her. Their family pays a price for that crime and the offender’s family too.”

Weirich brought the Season of Remembrance annual memorial to Memphis 11-years ago. The event honors homicide victims in the Memphis area and gives their family and friends a place to grieve together.

“So that they know that they’re not alone,” said Weirich. “Many of the families that will be there, and those in the past, their case has been closed in the criminal justice system for many years but the hole in their heart is never closed.”

Kelley said the event makes her feel like she’s not alone, saying “It’s all survivors coming together who can relate. We can relate because we share the same pain.”

While Kelley says the Season of Remembrance is helping families heal, she said more can be done to bring her and other families peace.

“Unfortunately, it’s so many that have gone through this pain of mourning, of trauma. And right now our city is experiencing mourning. Our city is traumatized by all the killing that is going on around us. We all are victims because it’s happening all around us. Put the guns down.”

The season of remembrance will be held Monday, November 29th. It begins at 5:30 p.m. inside the Rose Theatre at the University of Memphis. Everyone is welcome whether you’ve lost a loved one due to violent crime, or want to support those who have. The event is being held in person again this year after it was held virtually in 2020 due to COVID.

The memorial honors homicide victims in the Memphis area and gives their families and friends a place to grieve together.

“So that they know that they’re not alone. Many of the families that will be there and those in the past, their case has been closed in the criminal justice system for many years, but the hole in their heart is never closed,” said Weirich.

“All survivors coming together, those that can relate,” Kelley told FOX13. “We can relate because we share the same pain.”

For Kelley, those hugs from people who know what’s she’s going through help her heal. But she says more can be done to bring her and other families peace.

“Put the guns down, I mean, put the guns down,’ she said.

The Season of Remembrance will be held Monday night. It begins at 5:30 inside the Rose Theatre at the University of Memphis.

Everyone is welcome whether you’ve lost a loved one due to violent crime or want to support those who have.

The event is being held in person again this year after being held virtually last year due to COVID.