Peace rally celebrating the life of Junisha Cummings - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

Peace rally celebrating the life of Junisha Cummings

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A tragedy is spawning action. A suspect is facing charges as neighbors gathered in Decatur to celebrate the life of 15-year-old Junisha Cummings. Fifteen-year-old Latrell Flagg was officially charged with three counts of first degree murder in her shooting death. 

Earlier Thursday evening inside Old Kings Orchard Community Center there was a celebration. There were music, dancers and tumblers all to honor the life of Junisha. About 100 people showed up to remember her.

"Even though she died in that tragic way, we know that she went on to be with Christ and that's something we can celebrate," said event organizer DeMario Phillips. "That's something we can smile about."

He said remembering Junisha is with God has been key in moving forward.

"Even though we're grieving, we're also rejoicing that she's with the Lord," he said.

A community enjoyed DJ's, singers, tumblers and dancers. And in the crowd, one guest who stuck out from the rest.

"I always told her and her sister that when I took them to church, if it's something that I would do with for my grandkids, they would do it too if they wanted to," said Junisha's mentor Janice Perkins.

Janice Perkins was like a godmother to Junisha. She got her involved in church like driving her and holding bible study.

"She was so involved with her church, with her school," she said. "She was volunteering. She wasn't out getting into trouble."

Perkins smiled and sang along but what happened is still fresh.

"Just like everybody else I was devastated," she said crying.  "A community is still mourning."

"I knew completely that Junisha had made the decision and that she would be going to heaven and that gave me some peace," Perkins said.

Each song, each tumble, each dance was a way to celebrate Junisha.

There was also a march to Junisha's memorial at the corner of Union Street and Leafland Avenue. Organizers said that they would like this to become an annual event.

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