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A new place to reflect on the impact of gun violence takes shape in New Haven

The hope is that it will people be inspired to action and prevent future acts of gun violence in the city.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — In New Haven, a new greenspace is not your average park – this is a place to heal.

To Marissa Dionne Mead, director at Svigals and Partners, “it’s a sad subject. Everyone involved in this project was shocked by the cumulative impact that gun violence has had.“

You could argue that the New Haven Botanical Garden of Healing, near West Rock, was built for all the wrong reasons . Right from the entrance, the names of victims greet you. Shot. Killed. Old...and young.

There are 650 names on the walk, representing 40 years of gun violence. From 1976 until today.

The hope is that it will people be inspired to action and prevent future acts of gun violence in the city. At the end of the walkway – a tree of life in the garden, surrounded by quotes, memories family members of the ones that they lost to gun violence.

The idea was conceived by mothers who lost children to gun violence, “The two elements the mothers had for the garden was the walkway and the tree of life. So the tree of life is the center, the heart of the garden, meant to show the healing power that nature has, uplifting and hopeful thoughts that families can continue to grow”

And that’s the real focus of the healing garden – to heal – as one of the victims said – immortalized in the garden – it’s not how you start – it’s how you finish. And even though this walkway may never completely be finished showing names of victims – perhaps the garden will show new haven why the walkway’s list of tragic loss needs to slow down.

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