Parents of Murdered Children of the Merrimack Valley (POMC) held a candlelight vigil and remembrance last month on the steps of Lowell City Hall. This was the fifth annual remembrance held in Lowell.
Former Lowell Mayor Rita Mercier, a regular attendee at the annual event, addressed the group of more than 40 people gathered to remember their murdered loved ones.
“It is an honor to be here to present to Arnie this citation today. And I wish the day would come where we never increase the number of people who have to come here and that people wouldn’t be murdered,” Mercier said.
Mercier presented a proclamation from the mayor’s office to Arnie Muscovitz, who lost his daughter to murder and is the president of POMC.
“Whereas a homicide occurs every 34.5 minutes in the United States, not only ending the life of the victims, but forever leaving a hole in the heart of mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, siblings, and friends…
And, whereas The Parents of Murdered Children works to provide a support system for the families of victims to cope with their loss, as well as being a conduit to partner with the criminal system, and;
Whereas, as long as the survivors of homicide victims remember their loved ones and work to raise awareness of violence and to support programs to prevent violence, they will never be forgotten.”
Lowell State Representative Tom Golden told the gathering that he couldn’t even imagine what it is like to lose a child to murder, but recounted how he had lost his sister to cancer and promised to help in any way he could.
“As Rita [Mercier] just stated, today is such a solemn day. By the time you get in your car, come here to pay your respects and remembering your loved one, and go home, two to three people will have been murdered. That’s a trend, every 34 minutes, that we need to end,” Golden said.
“This is an organization that I have so much respect for because of their advocacy and what they try to do, day in and day out.
And it’s not only their advocacy but their prevention and their education to try to remind people what is going on in our streets, and in our country.
Our police officers, especially here in Lowell, do a fine job. But I have to often think that the people who create these heinous situations and in some situations acts of cowardice, what is going through their heads when taking the life of one of our loved ones. How can we stop the violence? POMC addresses that. This is a solemn day and we are all here for you because you are not forgetting.
And I want to make sure you that you know that we are not forgetting, and you are not alone.”
Lawrence Resident Lee Fickenworth and former Lawrence resident Andreas Gonzalez also spoke of loved ones that they lost to murder.
Fickenworth’s son Gabriel was murdered in a drive by shooting on Exeter Street in Lawrence four years ago. Her son’s killers have never been caught.
Haverhill resident Colleen McCann also attended in honor of her son who was murdered in Brazil and whose body she still cannot bring home because of lack of help from government officials.