ABBOTSFORD - More than 150 people gathered at the Civic Plaza in Abbotsford Sunday for a candlelight vigil to mourn and remember those killed in gang violence.

In attendance was Ken Dosanjh, who knows all too well the perils of gang life. His two brothers Ron and Jimmy Dosanjh lived as notorious Vancouver gangsters, until they were shot and killed two months apart in 1994.

At the time, police described Ron’s murder as the city’s most brazen assassination.

Sunday’s event was the first time since his brothers were killed that Dosanjh has spoken out publicly.

“It’s hard," he said. "It’s hard for me to stand up here and say what I need to say. As a community, leaders, we've all got to get together and help stop what’s happening."

Kids Play, a foundation dedicated to steering youth away from gangs, hosted the event in hopes of bringing the community together to start conversations.

“I wanted to create a safe place for families to come out and share their stories," said event organizer Jessica Sherman. "OK, your kid was killed in an alleged gang violence activity but I want to know who he was beyond that, what his story was, and who he aspired to be."

Sherman knows the stigma that automatically attaches to a family when a murder is deemed gang-related. Her cousin, Harwin Baringh – who was like a brother to her – lost his life at just 18, when he was gunned down inside his Jeep in Abbotsford.

Sherman says he sought acceptance from the wrong crowd and now that association will tarnish his memory forever.

“All we can really do is really grieve and try to hope that another family doesn’t suffer the same fate. But at the end of the day his memory forever is just marked,” said Sherman.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Ben Miljure