Local organization hosts city-wide stop the violence event

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Almost ten years ago, Tarj Hamilton and her husband were victims of a shooting. Hamilton was shot in the back and left paralyzed while her husband was injured.

Hamilton said their faith kept them from turning bitter.

"The anger and the frustration; trust me, it was there. One day my husband came to me and he was so angry but he knew he had to give that anger towards another outlet," Hamilton said.

That frustration started the "One Voice, One Dream, One Team" organization, whose main goal is to go to crime-ridden neighborhoods and give back.

Hamilton said it takes a community to make a real change so they're spreading a message of non-violence by partnering with local organizations such as the East Baton Rouge District Attorney's office and The CEO Mind for their 8th annual Pack the Park Stop the Violence rally.

"People tend to think, oh it didn't happen to me so it doesn't affect me but it affects everybody," said Kristen Raby, director of Victim's Services with the EBR District Attorney's office.

"We have to raise our standards, we have to raise our standard of being for ourselves," said Jasiri Basel with The CEO Mind.

Motivational speaker, Ashanti Witherspoon said his violent path led to more than 20 years behind bars for armed robbery. He's using his firsthand experience to encourage kids not to follow his lead.

"Just give them that little nudge, because if you don't give them that nudge, the streets are giving them that nudge and they're going to follow that because it's more exciting," said Witherspoon.

Hamilton said if their message of violence not being the answer reaches at least one, then the work of the rally is worth it.

"It might be a statement you say or one part of your testimony that touch them and make them think...I don't want to do that, I don't want to be there," said Witherspoon.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.