SALISBURY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — The Salisbury Police Department will hold a virtual vigil on Sept. 25 as part of the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. The department invites anyone who has lost a loved one to homicide in Salisbury to pick up a memorial ribbon to wear during the day.
The virtual vigil will include a slideshow that honors local murder victims and a candle lighting ceremony. The memorial ribbons are red and black; Black symbolizes grief and red represents love.
Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black works with victim’s families and knows the pain of losing a loved one firsthand.
“I recall getting a phone call early morning that Sunday morning, saying that my cousin had passed. He was shot and killed. It’s just like, your world stops,” he said. “It’s like your heart just stops. Your world just ends basically.”
Salisbury Police Department’s Victim Advocate Dr. Alberta McLaughlin is organizing Saturday’s vigil. She says it’s a small way to tell the community, ‘we stand with you.’
“We honor those moments in that we share those moment with their loved ones,” she said.
Since January, Salisbury has had 11 homicides. That’s more than the past two years combined. In 2020, the city had seven and in 2019, it had just two.
“I wouldn’t say homicide is a problem in Salisbury. I would say homicide is globally across everywhere,” said Dr. McLaughlin.
The vigil is a call for the community to embrace each other and for community advocates like Black, he hopes it’s a wakeup call.
“When are we going to say as a community that enough is enough?” he said. “We don’t want to add any more pictures to this vigil that we have on Saturday.”
The vigil starts at 6 p.m. Saturday and can be viewed on Salisbury PD’s Facebook page. The department is inviting everyone to light a memorial candle for the victims. Victims’ families can pick up their memorial ribbons at the police department until Friday.