Event aims to assist those who have experienced loss due to violence

Tahani Leon Guerrero (left) and Brittony Lewis (right) joined Mary Snipes Wednesday in preparing flags for Saturday's Awareness for a Safe Community event, which Snipes will host at Junction City's Heritage Park.

Mary Snipes has been working hard this week in preparation for an event that aims to raise awareness about the challenges those who have lost loved ones face.

Snipes will host an Awareness for a Safe Community event Saturday at Junction City’s Heritage Park. Snipes is the mother of Felix Snipes, who died after a shooting at 2306 Wildcat Lane on Aug. 31, 2018. She hopes Saturday’s event will raise awareness for many challenging issues, including suicide, depression and gun violence.

“I want individuals to be aware of what people go through that they might not know,” Snipes said. “You don’t know what an individual may be going through.”

Brittony Lewis and Tahani Leon Guerrero were both classmates of Felix at Junction City High School. On Wednesday, they helped Mary prepare some items for Saturday’s event, including orange flags which will be displayed to honor Felix and others who have lost their lives due to gun violence and other acts of violence. Several tables will be available where visitors can obtain information about challenging issues. Some community leaders who will be available for discussion will include local makeup artist Jessica Andrews, Rev. Tre Walker, Alex VanDyke, Yasmine Simmons and Anthony Medina from Junction City’s Midwest Carplex. Discussions will begin at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Park, and will continue until at least 5 p.m., Snipes said.

Snipes plans to establish a Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America branch in Junction City, and will begin hosting regular meetings this summer. She and her husband, Willie, are also in the process of establishing The Felix Snipes Foundation in honor of their son. They hope other families who have experienced loss will be able to find assistance during Saturday’s event. Snipes invites visitors who have lost loved ones to bring pictures of those they have lost to the event.

“Willie and I want no one to go through what we’re going through,” Snipes said. “And if someone goes through a situation like we’ve gone through, how do you get help? If we don’t talk about it, how are we going to know?”

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