LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) – As 2017 came to an end, those who have experienced violence over the last 12 months met for a time of fellowship and healing.

More than 100 people met at the Chestnut Street YMCA Sunday afternoon as part of a violence survivor’s network. Many at the dinner have lost loved ones to violence or are victims themselves.

“So this event is giving us a time where we can just loosen up and just be around good people and have fun and laugh and dance instead of just being sad all the time,” said Nicole Cowherd, whose husband was murdered in June 2016. Cowherd believes events like Sunday’s is what victims need to heal.

“We are going through the same thing and our hurt is the same hurt and we feel the same pain so yes, I do think that it is a sisterhood and a brotherhood and I am grateful for that," Cowherd said.

Metro Councilwoman Angela Leet helped organize the event, which she hopes will bring even more attention to the plight of violence survivors.

“This has become an incredible platform for them to speak up and speak out and declare what their needs are,” Leet said. “We have to start changing our thinking in considering our response to these victims.”

Leet said her goal is to help provide and coordinate resources to violence victims.

Before dinner, many family members shared stories of losing a child to gun violence, including the mother of Dequante Hobbs. Hobbs was 7 years old and eating cake at his kitchen table when a stray bullet went through the window and killed him back in May.

The group of survivors hopes to go before Metro Council’s Public Safety Committee in January to discuss their experiences and gun violence in Louisville.

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