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Corps Member Monday: Promoting Peace in our School and Community

November 25, 2013
by Lanise Harris, corps member proudly serving on the Capital Area United Way team at Belaire High School 

A rose gold casket, literally and symbolically filled with the word ‘violence’ plastered in big orange letters on a 5 feet sheet of navy paper, was slowly rolled out of “The Cage,” the school’s gymnasium, as loud and upbeat jazz played for Belaire High School’s very first jazz funeral and non-violence assembly.

BRAVE, Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination, Aishala Burgess, assistant district attorney, and the grandparents of Lezell James, a former student at Belaire, who was a victim of a fatal shooting August 1, 2013 addressed over 1000 students during the assembly about the violence and need for peace in the community. “The message isn’t to lock you up, it’s to let y’all know that it’s time for a change in Baton Rouge,” said Burgess.

Corps members helped coordinate the event and  participated in the assembly by collecting note cards, filled out by students with hot button issues, earlier that week that were placed in the casket to be buried, symbolizing the end of violence. Corps member, Rusheena Rush from Richmond, VA, sang Rufus Wainwright’s version of Hallelujah before the program started, ushering in students. And, corps member, Chinell Bell from Brooklyn, New York recited her own poem entitled Animosity which promoted peace and urged students to do their part to end violence in their community.


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