Two families remember daughters lost to gun violence through art, community


The parents of Lauren Landavazo and Yajaira Garcia both suffered the tragic loss of their daughters.

Now, the Landavazos are standing by the Garcias as they seek justice for Yajaira’s death.

On Saturday the Landavazos surprised the Garcia family with a sentimental gift, a portrait of Yajaira.

Lauren Landavazo and Yajaira Garcia were both victims of gun violence, and their parents are finding support in one another.

“I mean we do have that connection, we just have it, and we understand where they’re at and we understand that pain and we also understand that we want our babies remembered,” Lauren Landavazo’s mother Bianka Landavazo said.

The portrait is of Yajaira depicted as an angel, done by Ralph Stearns who also created one of Lauren Landavazo.

“I don’t know, it’s like seeing her again,” Yajaira’s friend and mentor Brenda Adame said. “You get happy but then you get sad again because you know that this is the only way you’re gonna see her and you don’t want this to be the only way.”

Bianka Landavazo is moved when she sees Lauren’s portrait and she hopes this does the same for the Garcias.

“It’s like she’s looking at me in that painting, it’s just comforting, it’s just beautiful,” Landavazo said.

Stearns explains the hands in the shape of a heart wasn’t his original plan, until he felt called to do so.

“She (Yajaira) painted something, two hands in a heart I believe, for her mom, so he was saying that whenever he was doing the painting he was debating on putting a dove into her hands but then he went for the heart and I think that’s when Mayala and Ramiro understood that this painting was meant to be for them,” Adame said.

A portrait of Yajaira, gifted for unimaginable circumstances, by parents who know the same pain.

Yajaira’s loved ones said they’re so thankful for Ralph Stearns taking the time to create this portrait.

They also said the way she is portrayed fits the kind of person she was perfectly–always smiling.

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