ITHACA, N.Y. — More than 100 people attended a vigil Thursday evening, releasing red balloons into the sky to honor the life and memory of Antwan Brooks.

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Brooks, 25, died of a heroin overdose on Sunday at the West Village Apartments.

His mother Linette Knox said her son suffered from addiction and she hopes that the family’s openness about how he died will help save lives.

“Don’t let his death be in vain. Y’all need to take heed to this,” Brooks’ aunt, Erika Evans, said during the memorial.

“Look at each other. Quit selling to your brothers. Quit selling to you sisters,” she said.

During the prayer — around a heap of flowers, photos, balloons and candles — a woman said, “Sometimes it’s difficult to be thankful in all things.”

But she said that Brooks’ family and friends needed to be thankful for having known him and thankful that his death could go on to help others. The group of mourners met her call with, “Amen.”

Evans said after the ceremony that Knox is not embarrassed or ashamed about how her son died.

“If his death saves one life, it will be worth it,” she said. “God has a purpose for everything. He left his strength here with her.”

A gofundme page has been set up by a family member to help Brooks’ family with funeral expenses. To donate, click here. 

All photos by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.