Monroe non-profit stand out, speak up against recent gun violence

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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Two men walked down Winnsboro Road asking people to stop the violence. The Life Changers of NELA is a non-profit organization that was established in 2018. They say their mission is to change lives.

Virdell Christopher tells people to stop the violence. (Source: KNOE)

"One voice can go far out,” president Virdell Christopher says. “We just got to keep on, keep on hitting at it. That's all."

Christopher says he had to do something, because the most recent shootings hit close to home. "The guy's wake that was there was a brother to him. The guy that got shot right there, D. Stevens, was a brother to me. God, rest his soul. Those are two guys, two great kings."

Although they lost their life to gun violence, Christopher says his goal is to make sure he honors them. "Those are two great guys that we ain't really just lost, because we're going to see them again one day,” Christopher says. “But, we want to see them and say that 'Hey, your death wasn't in vain.'"

So, he stood where his friends were shot with a simple message – stop the violence. He and Damian Coleman doing whatever they can to get their message across.

Coleman says it's up to them to be the change they want to see in their community. "If we stand up as community leaders to make a difference, then we can change our own communities,” says Coleman, vice president of Life Changers of NELA. “We can't do it from city hall. We can't do it from the mayor's office. We can't do it from Monroe P.D."

Coleman says their voices are just the start. The true change will come when everyone joins together. "Come in groups, come in numbers, communicate, fellowship, help these people and give them the resources that they need to revive themselves, and I guarantee you the crime rate will stop," Coleman says.

When the crime rate goes down, Christopher says the community will be able to finally build itself up again. "It's time to build rather than to kill,” Christopher says. “It's time to unite rather than fight, because only if we come together and build together, we can show our children, our loved ones how much strength, how much talent we can build and all this creativity."

The Life Changers of NELA plan to continue spreading their message across Monroe.