WASHINGTON (KDKA) – Birthday parties are supposed to be a time to celebrate life, but the atmosphere was a bit more somber this weekend in Washington.

“It means the world to me to be able to come out and do something in my daughter’s name,” Curtis Thomas said.

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Taniyah Thomas would have turned 11 earlier this month. This weekend, family and friends gathered in Washington to celebration the little girl’s life that was cut short by violence.

“We just wanted to help the community get the word out about his daughter. She will never be forgotten. It was a senseless home invasion that what happened to her was totally senseless and wrong,” Suzanne Kelly of Stop The Violence said.

She was shot and killed on March 31, when she ran from her room to her mother’s room during a home invasion.

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“She would have loved to have seen this. This is a very big event and a big birthday party — probably one of the biggest parties that a kid would have in this town, you know? We are bringing the kids together in her name to honor her name and keep her alive,” her father, Curtis, said.

They collected toys to give to the Toys For Tots campaign in her memory.

“Violence doesn’t lead to anything, but death, you know? You [have to] stop the violence. You [have to] come together as a community and grow up and you [have to] be great because you are our future,” Curtis said.

By joining with Stop The Violence, Curtis hopes the message gets through.

“My daughter, she won’t get to do the great things she was destined to do. But, if you can do great things in her memory and do great things and change this world, it wasn’t in vain,” Curtis said.

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