Only six months have passed since Christina Grimmie, a rising star and gifted singer from South Jersey, lost her life to senseless violence.
But Christina’s spirit continues to inspire people.
“It’s just amazing that other people who didn’t even know her feel touched by her,” said Christina’s brother, Marc Grimmie, 24, aftera ceremony Saturday to dedicate a “Wishwall” inher memory inMarlton, New Jersey, where they had lived.
“It just makes me as a brother very joyful that even with the tragedy, people can see what a light she was,” he said.
As a Youtube sensation, Christina had attracted interest from major record labels. She wowed audiences as a finalist on reality-TV singing competition “The Voice.”
But her career was tragically cut short at just 22 years old. While signing autographs after a concert on June 10 in Orlando, Florida, she was fatally shot by a deranged fan. The shooter took his own life moments later.
Mary Beth Iannarella, founder of Girl Talk Marlton, a peer-to-peer mentoring organization that currently serves 90 girls grades five through 12, said the girls were “distraught” after Christina’s death. Iannarella had learned about The Wishwall concept after seeing it in Philadelphia, and thought it could be a good tribute to Christina.
“I took it to the group, and said, ‘What do you think if we do this in memory of her?’” she recalled.
Iannarella’s wish came true thanks toSimonetta Lein, fashion and style icon, author and founder of The Wishwall Foundation. In Christina’s honor, Lein and Iannarella dedicated the second Wishwall on Saturday at Evesham Library in Marlton, New Jersey, where Christina had lived.
“The Wishwall has something that is magical to me,” said Lein, who will choose a wish from those pinned to the wall and try to grant it. “I felt Christina there very strongly. … She gave a lot of inspiration to girls to keep on being themselves, and keep on fighting to be unique.”
As “Wishmaker,” Lein has a good track record — the first wish she picked, of finding the driver behind a fatal Philly hit-and-run, seems to have come true after one year (charges are still pending).
For Marc Grimmie, The Wishwall is another way to honor his sister.
“Me and my family are dedicating our life to honor her legacy,” he said.
While Grimmie said getting through the holidays without his beloved little sister is a struggle, his family is focusing on positive ways to remember Christina. They plan to start a foundation in her honor, he said, and are currently working on a new album of the music Christina was working on at the time of her death.
“She was working so hard on this. It gives us something that we can still smile about and work on over the day, almost like she’s still here,” he said of the recordings Christina left behind. “Her music is still here. Her spirit is still here.”
“It’s closure for us, but we wish she was here to be part of it.”
The Wishwall is a global movement with local outreach. The Wishwall is next going to Milan, Italy, Sierravista, Arizona, and Washington, D.C. If you are interested in hosting The Wishwall, visit TheWishwall.org.