Mott Haven community event honors the memory of victims of violence

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Saturday marked one year since the death of Lisa Marie Velasquez, the woman whose grisly killing was uncovered when her body parts were found in two different Bronx parks last summer.

Community members gathered for an event in Mott Haven Saturday that aimed to keep Velasquez's memory alive, along with the memory of other violence victims.

The event began as a backpack giveaway 18 years ago. Backpacks are still handed out, but over the years, the event has evolved into a time to remember those lost to violence.

Family members of Lisa Marie Velasquez gathered, along with relatives of Alberto Dejesus, Andrew Kearse and Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz.

The event aims to give back to the community and help prepare families for the school year, while memorializing the victims and building a support system for families who have lost loved ones. Activities for children were also offered, including face painting and a bouncy house.

Children also performed a show for the crowd.

It comes as the Velasquez family is going through court hearings and awaiting trial in the slaying case, according to the victim's aunt, Jackie Perez.

"Today we remember the way she was brutally murdered and hope for justice. The support is tremendous and I appreciate everyone who came out today," Perez says.

The Mott Haven Community Council partnered with multiple organizations and agencies, including the NYPD, to make Saturday's event possible.

MORE COVERAGE: Couple indicted in killing, dismemberment of Lisa Marie Velasquez 
Accused Velasquez killer’s mother tossed from court after outburst 
Velasquez family holds vigil after suspected killer appears in court 
Grief-stricken loved ones plead for justice in Lisa Velasquez murder case 
Timeline: The killing of Lisa Maria Velasquez 

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