ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — Family members in Elmira gathered at the Steele Memorial Library on Saturday with heavy hearts as they remembered loved ones lost to violence in the city.

The dinner was put on by Family Affairs-Stop the Violence, led by CEO Sean White and his family.

The dinner was to give families a chance to come together as a community, remember their loved ones for who they were, and love and embrace one another.

Local restaurants donated food for the event after being asked by Mr. White, he said they were happy to do so after hearing about the event and the reason behind it.

Before the meal was served, White spoke to everyone and talked about his own sons that he lost to violence. He spoke about how hard it is to lose a child like that, and that it’s hard to come back from that kind of pain.

He made an emphasis that it’s the children and younger people that need to be talked to in order to prevent violence. He believes that if he’s able to talk to kids and young people in the neighborhoods, he’ll be able to make a difference.

“Let’s stop blaming the cops, let’s stop blaming the mayor…they’re not living where we’re living,” White said when referring to violence in Elmira. “Let’s start blaming ourselves, let’s start talking to these kids…not at them. They ain’t listening to you talking down to them,” he said, “Talking to em’ you might get a conversation,” he said.

White continued on by asking for more public support at his events, he wants more people to just come out, “The more people come out, the more people keep coming out,” he added.

This event comes a little over a week after two people were killed in separate events in the city to start 2023.