MILWAUKEE -- Violence affects not just victims, but communities, and as 2019 came to a close Tuesday, Dec. 31, people inside the House of Prayer church near 60th Street and Fond du Lac Avenue shared stories of pain with hope of starting 2020 off right.
The church hosted an inaugural New Year's Eve "Meals Against Violence" program, which included a moment of silence for victims of violence.
"I've never really shared my story with people," said Hope Osborne. "Violence not only affects one person -- it affects families. It affects children, the community. It affects the police. It affects everything."
Those who spoke lifted a weight off their chest.
"What's really heavy on my heart, y'all, he was like a nephew," said Monica Spearman. "His name is Junior. I know you've seen it on the news. He had hit a tree and he had left my house that night."
"This stuff has got to stop," said Carla Hendree. "I live on 27th and Auer and I hear gunshots in the morning, gunshots in the afternoon, and gunshots when I go to bed."
The 60 or so present at the church Tuesday evening found food for the soul -- hoping to put to bed the grief they've been carrying.
"I advise everyone to take counseling," said Brenda Hines. "Talk to somebody. Don't go this alone. This is a time to fight, and fight boldly."
"Say something to them that you know is going to break through their soul," said Tory Lowe. "'I love you. You're an amazing person. You don't even have to deal with that. That's beneath you. Go the other way.'"
This was the first year the church has held New Year's Eve service which also included household goods for families in need.