Families of violence victims honored before Legends game

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - An hour before the Lexington Legends game started Tuesday night, most fans at Whitaker Bank Ballpark had already walked through the turnstiles, gotten their tickets scanned and grabbed the bobblehead being given away.

One group stayed outside the gates for a few more moments and circled up in prayer.

"If anyone knows the pain that's going on, it's this circle right here," said Logan Avritt, who led the group's prayer.

Everyone in the circle had their reason for being there. For most of them, it was losing a loved one: a brother, a daughter, a son, a grandchild, a friend. They all brought their pictures, and they each brought their stories of loss.

"I'm my daughter's voice," said Tamara Coleman. "She's no longer here, so I'm here to make sure my daughter and my grandson aren't forgotten."

Coleman was there for her daughter, Maryiah, and Maryiah's unborn son, JaKobe, who died in a 2016 shooting.

She was joined by too many others - each with their own lost loved ones - walking onto the field together before the game.

Avritt, a youth mentor for MADE (Motivated All Day Everyday), a program for at-risk youth in Lexington schools, used his platform on the field as the Legends' community organization of the night to honor violence victims and their families. There was even a stadium-wide moment of silence to remember their loved ones.

Avritt said a night like that is important for the family members of victims to know they have support.

"Just wrap our arms around these mothers, these families, and let them know that as a whole community we've got their back," he said. "That's what this was all about, just bringing a smile to their face instead of some of the pain they deal with every day."

It also makes a strong statement against violence.

That is why family members said they were there - to make sure that what happened to them does not keep happening to others.

"We don't want to lose any more of our children," Coleman said. "We just want peace on our streets."

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