As part of a memorial service Saturday night at Forest Lawn Mortuary in Bixby Knolls, about 100 residents, community organizers and faith groups honored the lives of 57 homeless individuals lost this year in Long Beach.
Attendees took turns reading the names of those who passed away as two facilitators lit a candle for each person.
“Listen to the names and imagine that each one of those persons had a family, had friends that they talked to every day in the street, that they talked to in the morning and said good night to,” said Steve Be Cotte, outgoing president of the Long Beach Homeless Coalition, the nonprofit that put the event together.
Be Cotte will be succeeded by Paige Pelonis as president of the coalition, he told the Long Beach Post.
Be Cotte reminded attendees that while these individuals were without roofs over their head, they were a part of the fabric of the community.
“Just like when any person is lost, it’s a loss for our community,” Be Cotte said.
Cantor Sara Hass sings a prayer in Hebrew as part of the 2019 Homeless Memorial Service organized by the Long Beach Homeless Coalition hosted at the Forest Lawn in #LongBeach. Tonight, about 100 attendees honored the more than 50 lives lost this year. #vigil 🕯️ pic.twitter.com/Hvg7ZiFmqm
— Crystal Niebla (@crystalniebla) December 22, 2019
As part of the night’s program, the audience also heard musical performances and prayers.
Organizers also provided free transportation for homeless individuals wishing to attend the event. Guests were allowed to arrive late to the city winter shelter to be able to attend.
A partial list of homeless individuals who died in Long Beach this year can be found here.
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