‘They are not alone’: Bronx Christmas tree lighting connects community


WAKEFIELD, the Bronx — Over the past 11 years, the lighting of the “Tree of Angels” has become a tradition for the families and friends of homicide vicims.

Each year, loved ones are invited to create an angel of remembrance and hang it on a Christmas tree outside the Bronx District Attorney Office’s Crime Victims Assistance Unit.

“What this event does is bring all the families together, to know that they are not alone during the holiday season,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark told PIX11 News.

She said the gesture is especially important during the holiday season, when families “feel the most pain and the most loss.”

This was Eve Hendricks’ first tree lighting. She lost her son, Brandon, to gun violence in June 2020.

The 17-year-old was an innocent bystander, killed at a barbecue. His mother has since established the Brandon Hendricks Scholarship in his memory, helping first-year college students make their dreams come true.

“I remember my son each and every day,” Hendricks said. “Just to share him with the public and everyone here, that’s a big help [in] getting closer to closure. For all who died, they are loved and he’s loved.”

The Bronx has the highest number of shootings and homicides in the city so far this year, according to NYPD data.

Elected officials at the tree lighting vowed to stop the flow of illegal guns into the Bronx, but the event was more about remembering the lives lost.

“We cannot forget them. We have to remember them each and every day,” Rep. Jamaal Bosman said. “We have to continue to do everything we can to make sure the senseless violence stops and that no one else loses their lives prematurely.”

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