A story for every victim

Families to remember and honor victims at two events

Two events set for Saturday in different parts of the city will remember and honor homicide victims. One is a community resource fair organized by the group Life After Uncivil Ruthless Acts, or L.A.U.R.A., and the other is a gathering at a Santa Monica church to share experiences after a loved one has passed.

Adela Barajas began organizing the yearly resource fair after her sister-in-law, Laura Sanchez, 34, was shot and killed in March 2007 in front of her son, who was 17 at the time.  The fair is to kick off with a peace walk at 9:30 a.m. that is to include Brian, Sanchez's youngest son. Participants who have lost loved ones to homicide are encouraged to bring their photos.

There will also be at least 50 booths at the fair providing information on jobs, education and health.

“It’s my own therapy, helping other families,” Barajas said.

The event is scheduled to run until 3 p.m. at the Fred Roberts Recreation Center, 4700 Honduras St. in the Central-Alameda neighborhood. L.A.U.R.A. is a nonprofit that works to enhance quality of life in South Los Angeles.

“It’s a day where family can enjoy a little bit of everything,” Barajas said.

In Santa Monica, Donna Brown is hosting an event called “Love Never Dies,” in part to honor her son Clifton Hibbert Jr., a 22-year-old Cal State Northridge student who was killed March 28, 2008.

Brown said she has recently come into contact with people who are in the process of grieving, which became a personal signal that she wanted to make a difference.

She said she ran into a woman in a Venice cafe who broke down in tears over her son’s death seven months ago. She said another woman called after finding out about Saturday's event, telling her that even though it has been five years since her son was killed, she is afraid to talk about it to her family.

Brown said that people often feel very lonely after the loss of a loved one and sometimes don’t want to burden other family members with their grief.

 "No one can really get it,” Brown said. “You feel like they don’t get where you’re at.”

Brown said she was inspired by her son, who supported her through breast cancer before his death.

“It wasn’t just about Cliff; it was about others,” she said.

The event is set to run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Church in Ocean Park in Santa Monica, 235 Hill St.

“It’s a night where people can be touched and moved and inspired to make a difference in life,” Brown said.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

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