A group of approximately 50 people gathered for a candlelight vigil Dec. 12 to commemorate the lives of Rachel Finn, 9, Deausha Faulk, 6 and Michael Zigler, 2, killed recently in a house fire in Clairton.

Unity also brought about prayer and hope in memory of all those who have lost their loved ones to tragedy.

VIGIL CIRCLE—CEA’s Rashad Byrdsong, center, speaks at the prayer vigil.

“Unfortunately, areas such as Clairton is a community that people don’t reach out to,” said Rashad Byrdsong, president of Community Empowerment Association. “Clairton is suffering not only from the recent tragedy of the young ones who lost their lives in the fire but there has been a lot of violence in the community.”

Mary Glover, community advocate, lost her son to violence in 1992. Since then she has reached  out in a number of different ways to help many mothers who have experienced the same thing.

“We want to take our loss that we had  in the community and go out and be a blessing to help other people,” she said. “Whenever I see a need I just help. I try to make sure that the children are safe.”

Elder Ron Ben Joseph, 74, a retired Community College of Allegheny County professor, can recall many acts of violence that have occurred over the last century and believes that we are going backwards as a nation.

“These things are happening to our youth through lack of responsibility or hate and it begins with knowing about our identity.” Joseph said. “Our people don’t know who we are. Once we find out who we are, we can find out what happened in our past and find out why we are in this devastation that we are in today.”

The night of oneness, reconciliation and prayer raised money to benefit a scholarship in the name of all those who have lost their lives tragically.

“If we work together we can change Clairton and give everyone a voice,” said Rev. Dr. Judith Moore, First AME Church of Clairton. “We can come together in prayer and with God we can do all things.”

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