CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Dozens of people, masked and socially distanced, gathered in Marshall Park Friday evening to hold a vigil for Judy Williams, a co-founder of Mothers of Murdered Offspring. Williams and her family started the organization back in 1993 after losing a goddaughter to homicide. Williams died last Saturday after a long battle with lung cancer.
Friday evening’s vigil attracted family members, community members and elected officials. Purple lighting showcased the organization’s signature color and some guests wore masks that were screen-printed with photos of Williams' face.
The vigil opened with an introduction from MOMO Administrator Lisa Crawford followed by a prayer and song.
“She was a person that was so genuine, like I don’t know any other human beings like her,” said Tawanna Wilson, a friend of Williams.
Saundra Adams, the chair of the MOMO Board, said she anticipated the large turnout for the vigil.
“Judy has touched so many lives and each family she treated like they were the only family,” said Adams.
Williams' son, David Howard, said the past week, and celebration of his mother’s life has been overwhelming.
“She earned all of this so I mean from that standpoint, you know it’s very well-deserved,” noted Howard.
During the vigil, Williams' loved ones released 27 different balloons, one for each year of MOMO’s existence.
“Because of all this outpouring of love, she still feels a part of me right now. She very much still feels like she’s here,” Howard told WBTV.
Williams is gone, but her family and friends vowed to keep Mothers of Murdered Offspring active and committed to denouncing violence and supporting victims.
“This is her life’s work and this is the legacy that she would want us to continue because Judy wanted to see the violence in Charlotte ended and we are all about promoting peace,” said Adams.
Williams will be laid to rest Saturday at 2 p.m. at Steele Creek Church in Charlotte. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, seating will be limited and masks will be required.