KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Family members and friends who have ties to the recent gun violence in the Austin-East community gathered Saturday to honor the teens whose lives were lost.
They held a in Knoxville on Saturday.
Just in the past four months, the Austin-East community has lost five high school students.
“All these children were beautiful,” said Jacqueline Muhammad, Janaria Muhammad’s mom.
The loss of Justin Taylor is fresh in his sister Kiara Taylor’s mind.
“He just died January 27, 2021. He was one of the first students to die.”
Jacqueline Muhammad remembered her daughter’s kind heart.
“Her spirit and her beauty is still shining on and that’s what keeps us going because she was a beautiful soul,” she said of Janaria.
Other family members of those killed by gun violence were also present wanting loved ones’ lives remembered.
“Marquis Anthony Nolan,” said his aunt India Connor. “My nephew was only 23, and he got slayed down on Magnolia Avenue.”
People marched from Magnolia Avenue, to Ben Hur Avenue, and to Martin Luther King Jr Avenue.
“We’re here today to march for him and all the other students that have lost their lives due to reckless gun violence,” Kiara Taylor said.
“These kids should not be losing their lives left and right the way they’ve been losing their lives.”
Many community members took notice, like James Myers.
“I just pulled over to see what was going on, but it’s amazing,” he said getting out of his car to watch.
Singing and chants of justice rang out among those walking.
“These kids hadn’t even had the chance to live,” said Jacqueline Muhammad.
The group remembering those who’ve lost their lives in the past with hopes for less gun violence in the future.
“I just hope we can continue to do things like this without there having to be violence involved,” Taylor said.
“Long live Nana, long live Dada, long live Little Aunt, Justin,” said Jacqueline Muhammad. “We love you all and each and every one of y’all.”