Nashville pauses to remember the homeless - WSMV Channel 4

Nashville pauses to remember the homeless

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Hundreds paused near downtown Nashville Sunday afternoon to remember those often forgotten.

The Metropolitan Homelessness Commission held its annual memorial to honor our homeless neighbors no longer with us.

"Donna Adams, Thomas Connelly."

One by one, the announcer read the names of dozens of homeless men and women few knew, but whose stories touched countless lives - people like Kay Barton, a homeless woman who died from breast cancer.

"She tried to fight for every homeless person, thought they deserved to have a right to have a place to live," her husband, Joe Barton, explained.

Hundreds gathered underneath the Jefferson Street Bridge Sunday on the very spot many of those honored called home.

"A lot of times we don't have an opportunity to say goodbye to people, and this is a chance for everyone to get together and say goodbye," organizer Steve Reiter explained.

Every year the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission hosts the memorial service to remember people like Robert Mitchell. The 41-year-old was shot in the head execution-style back in October while sitting on a park bench on James Robertson Parkway.

"This was a person that mattered. He was a husband he had kids. This was his community. People don't realize it, they think they're just homeless," homeless advocate Sandy Griffin explained.

Pastor Bob Beeman often ministers to the homeless. "We have thousands of people on the streets right now not far from here. It's not safe. We've had rapes, we've had murders right where we're standing. It's just a situation that needs to improve," Beeman said.

But more than focusing on their deaths, organizers said the service was a call to action, reminding the community to remember those still alive.

"They're people that have become homeless because of the economic situation. Families, women, children," Beeman added.

"Homeless people are human beings," Reiter stressed.

Metro police charged Christopher Crowley with Mitchell's murder. Crowley went before a judge last week and waived his court hearing. His case has now been sent to a grand jury.

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