It’s been four decades since a series of murders and abductions of Atlanta children left parents across the city frightened. Now, a task force created by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms held a groundbreaking ceremony for a memorial to honor the 29 victims of the Atlanta Child Murders.

The Atlanta Children’s Memorial Task Force first convened in 2019 to begin design a memorial honoring the victims who lost their lives between 1979 and 1981. The group is also working with the Atlanta Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations are reexamining facts and evidence in the murders.

Camille Love, director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, spoke about the fear in the city during that time.

“My son was the age of those young children that were being taken, and it had a terrifying effect on our entire community,” she said. “You didn't want to let your children out of your sight for a moment.”

The finished project, designed by Gordon Huether, will include a poem by Atlanta Poet Laureate Pearl Cleage, the names of all the victims, and an eternal flame.

Bottoms emphasized that marking the tragic moment in Atlanta history isn’t about bringing up old wounds. Instead, it’s an effort by the city to support families still healing and helping others to remember the city’s history.

“I've said on multiple occasions that lives of these children and young people mattered then — they matter now,” Bottoms said. “With this memorial, it will be a reminder to each of us that their lives will matter forevermore.”

The memorial is projected to be completed in six months.