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Community prayer breakfast for families hurt by violence

Family of Kendrick Johnson, Robert Champion attended

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Saturday the group Hurting Families with Children in Crime hosted a prayer breakfast. The group invited mothers in our area to come together to support and uplift each other as well as mothers whose son's deaths have drawn national attention.

"No answers. No matter how far you keep pushing for answers the more it seems like they try to push you back," said Jacquelyn Johnson.

She is the mother of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson, who was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at his Valdosta high school in January 2013.

An initial autopsy ruled Kendrick Johnson accidentally suffocated in the mat. A second autopsy,conducted by a pathologist hired by Johnson's family, found he died from a blow to the neck.
An initial autopsy ruled Kendrick Johnson accidentally suffocated in the mat. A second autopsy,conducted by a pathologist hired by Johnson's family, found he died from a blow to the neck.

Authorities believe he fell into the mat and suffocated while trying to retrieve a sneaker.
His parents suspect he was murdered.

"Losing a child is an understanding and a feeling that no one that hasn't ever lost a child can say that they know what you're going though," said Johnson.

That's why she decided to come to the Community Unity Fellowship breakfast hosted by Hurting Families with Children in Crime.

The goal is to bring families together, specifically mothers, who have lost children to violent crimes.

"I've been broken but I'm not destroyed so I'm here to talk to the other mothers that's going through the same thing that I'm going through and done been through to let them know you can be broken but don't let it destroy you," said Johnson.

This is the sixth year of this event. Hurting Families with Children in Crime has helped more than 600 families since it was started, and that's why it's organizers say events like these are so important.

The family of 16-year-old Tiphne Hollis 

16-year-old Tiphne Hollis was shot and killed two years ago today.
16-year-old Tiphne Hollis was shot and killed two years ago today.

joined others, as the five- year anniversary of her shooting death on Jacksonville's West Side approaches. Her killer is still on the loose. 

They listened to Pam Champion, whose son Robert died

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during a hazing incident with the FAMU band, as she told them their brokenness is an opportunity.

"It is when we are at our lowest, our broken moment, that God has an opportunity to reshape us," said Champion.

Later in the afternoon, Hurting Families with Children in Crime held another prayer vigil for 16-year-old Devron Crowden. He was shot and killed Wednesday, about a half-mile away as he waited to catch the bus to Raines High School.