ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Holiday cheer is hard to come by for too many New Mexico families dealing with the loss of someone they love to gun violence, and the list only continues to grow.
“It will be two years in January, and we still haven’t had any arrests, any answers, nothing,” said Laura Brown, who lost her spouse Mark Solano in a suspected road rage incident. “My daughter misses her dad, it’s been really hard to adjust without him.”
Brown and her son were among dozens of families trying to find some happiness during this holiday season Wednesday night.
The New Mexico Crusaders for Justice hosted a Christmas party for about 50 Albuquerque families.
“We’re all about the families so any time we can do something for the families. They’re already going through enough heartbreak and stuff, so anything to make it a little bit easier,” said New Mexico Crusaders for Justice co-founder Alicia Otero.
Santa had presents for 78 kids.
“When you lose someone so close to you and the holidays come around you just don’t want to celebrate, you just kind of lose your Christmas spirit. So if we can take time off, just one day, and let someone else do it for you, it makes life a lot easier,” said Otero.
Mothers say the group’s support means a lot to them.
“It gives me hope and joy that people are still willing to come together and help the community,” said Cassandra Scott, who lost her 15-year-old son to gun violence about four years ago.
The New Mexico Crusaders will welcome any family who needs support. The group has a network of 900 Albuquerque families, and recently started chapters in Ruidoso and Farmington.