BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Local families and friends are remembering the lives lost to the senseless violence in Kern County.
On Thursday, 23ABC'S News spoke to Bakersfield resident, Derrly Grimes, who lost both of his nephews to gang violence. Grimes said the local March Against Violence is a source of hope for him and many others.
"Not hearing their voices becomes an empty void in you," Grimes said.
Grimes shares something in common with many families in Kern County.
“I happened to come to the site where his body still laid there...lifeless," Grimes emotionally explained.
Grimes, is still stuck with the image of his 19-year-old nephew Clarence Bagsby, who he said was brutally murdered ten years ago along 8th and L streets in a gang-related shooting.
Grimes said the man who shot Clarence was convicted and sentenced to life in prison but the sentencing doesn’t make the pain any easier.
“This is the very first time I've stood on this sidewalk," Grimes said while standing in front of the front yard where his nephew was shot and killed.
However, that is not the only heinous memory that Grimes lives in with day in and day out. He said his other nephew, Jeremy Little John, was also shot and killed along Wilson Street a year ago, when a garage party turned deadly after someone fired off multiple gun shots through the garage.
Jeremy’s case still remains unsolved but Grimes said with the help of The Wendale Davis Foundation is using both of his nephews stories to create change.
“They helped us and they have a good, loving and concern about the community," Grimes said.
Wesly Davis started The Wendale Davis Foundation in Bakersfield 13 years ago after his 16-year-old son Wendale Davis was also shot and killed in a drive by shooting.
In an effort to create change the foundation provides weekly tutoring, mentoring and team resources for members of the local youth to use as outlets for a better life, outside of gangs. Grimes said the foundation's annual March Against Violence is also providing a path towards healing for people like him.
"The ones who have been setting on a lot of grief and just walking and shouting it out helps," Grimes said.
Hundreds of friends and family members are now taking steps together toward change and letting their voices be heard.
"If you haven’t lost nobody you will lose somebody if you don't speak up," Grimes said.