ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Stateline families who have lost a loved one to violence want to turn their grief into something positive.
Rosemary and Donald Wright are still coping with the loss of their son Brandon. The 23-year-old was shot and killed nearly 2 years ago while on his way home from a local bar. The Wrights want to turn their loss into a lesson, so they organized a concert to honor Brandon. It's an event they hope will inspire people to become proactive in preventing crime.
“What we would like to do is get the word out that people, let’s be in control of our situations, let’s be patient with one another and if we can do that, we’ve done our job in giving back and I hope there will be no more violence in Rockford," says Donald Wright.
The Wrights shared the microphone with other grieving families, including Joy Cardino-Morgan. Her parents Ray and Leticia Cardino were murdered by a home invader in 2009.
“My father always said you are what you are with, and parents can figure out how to keep kids from trouble," said Joy Cardino-Morgan.
“We need to prevent what happened to our families from happening to other families. We need to find a way."
Cynthia Horton read a poem for her daughter Natasha Cleary, who was murdered and set on fire along with her two sons in 2011.
“Child of my child I adore you so, I think about you wherever I go,” Cynthia Horton recited to the crowd at Sinissippi Park.
Tara Sheetz rocked the crowd with her music, and her words. Sheetz's parents were nearly beaten to death by two home invaders earlier this year.
“Anyone who knows my parents will agree with me on this, they are sweetest, most generous and kind people in the world," Tara Sheetz told the crowd. Her band Dirtee Sheetz also performed.
All these families hope more people will understand a simple message: stand for peace, end the violence. This afternoon's peace concert stands for "People Empowered Against Criminal Environments."