In prayer and in solitude, community members remember July of 1995 — the Srebrenica Genocide.
The massacre killed more than eight-thousand Bosnian Muslims in just five days.
22 years later, Erie’s Bosnian refugees felt they had a job to do, spreading their message from Griswald Park to Perry Square.
“Just to remind and teach our community here in Erie about what happened to the Bosnian people and just for them to understand why we are here today and to make sure that history does not repeat itself,” said Almir Selimovic, one of the event coordinators.
Today members of the Bosnian community contribute a great deal to the Erie area but, like Selimovic, they remember how they got here.
“I’m usually questioned, ‘well how come you came to Erie?’ So this is one of the ways we can explain why the Bosnian community is here today. It’s because of the war and genocide that happened in our country.” Selimovic said.
Community leaders said the march wasn’t just about what happened in the past.
It also sends a message about what’s happening right now.
“The larger picture here is that genocides are happening today, across the globe and this brings and awareness for all of us that this could happen anywhere to anyone of us and to our loved ones,” said Kathy Dahlkemper, the Erie County Executive.
Dahlkemper said the march raises awareness to prevent genocides like this from happening in the future.
Coordinators tell us never again is their message.