PORTLAND, Ore. — A banquet hall in Northeast Portland was turned into a healing space Saturday for fathers who have lost children to violence.
Dozens of men came attended the Brunch for Fathers of Murdered Children, organized by community activist Royal Harris.
“The real purpose of this event is to create a space where we acknowledge and honor the grief and loss of those fathers," said Harris. "This is a response to the fact that there are so many men out there hurting."
Harris has organized many marches and community events around Portland, including the March Against Murder last May. He said people brought up their concerns on the matter at that march.
Harris said the kind of grief fathers have experienced isn't always acknowledged, so he wanted to create a space where they could come together.
"I think the greatest thing that this event provides is the acknowledgment that there are others who are aware of their pain and want to help them through that process."
Some of the topics discussed at the event included meditation and other healing tools.
"We also have some therapists coming that are going to offer pro bono services, and really what they wanna do is help people who are interested to start the process. It’s not necessarily a mandatory thing, it’s just extending that helping hand."
Harris, who lost his brother to gun violence in 2013, said people impacted by gun violence carry the injuries with them for the rest of their lives.
“For me it was, how can I pour back into them or help them have the reserve for the people they love?" explained Harris.
He hopes to inspire others to think of how they can do the same for their city and community.
For more information or ways to get involved, you can reach Harris at MarchAgainstMurder@gmail.com.