BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Dozens of ribbons now adorn an oak tree at the end of North Boulevard. Each one bears a name, a story of a loved one lost to crime. Together they form a mosaic of broken hearts.
The tree is now a Survivor Tree, a living memorial to victims and survivors of crime. It was dedicated thanks to the Baton Rouge Area Victims Empowered group.
"It was very important because I think every day we need to remember that there are people out there. They suffer. They suffer in silence for the most part," said BRAVE board president Carolyn Stapleton.
The Survivor Tree was christened by leaders of local law enforcement, survivor families and their advocates. Even EBR Mayor-President Kip Holden shared his own personal history with violence.
Each shared the experiences of how crime changed their lives or took loved ones. Through the common pain of these stories is a message that no one is alone or forgotten.
"They are damaged physically, emotionally and financially, and most people forget about them. The motto of this is we remember what other people forget," said Stapleton.
The Mayor's office declared April Baton Rouge Area Victims Empowered Month. The Survivor Tree and its ribbons will be lit throughout the month.
Click here for more on the Baton Rouge Area Victims Empowered group.