POSTED: Sunday, May 26, 2013 - 8:00pm
UPDATED: Monday, May 27, 2013 - 10:24am
BATON ROUGE,LA (NBC33) — Thirty hearses hit the streets of Baton Rouge on Sunday, May 26. Their drivers were shouting a strong message: 'Stop the violence and live.' The procession rolled from North Baton Rouge to South Baton Rouge to draw attention to the true cost of violent crime.
"There is a collection, there is death in our community, but it doesn't have to be violent death," Louis Charbonnet, with the Louisiana Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, explained.
The Baton Rouge Funeral Directors and Morticians Association teamed up with 100 Black Men, Metro Health,and the Working Interfaith Network to host the procession. It signified one final ride to show the community it's time to stop fighting and help each other find peace.
"The meeting is just awareness of how horrible and useless violent crime is in our neighborhoods particularly in our Black neighborhoods. Just stop the killing we can live alone in peace instead of resting in peace," Charbonnet said.
The message was hard to miss.
"When I saw the hearse it made me think about friends who maybe lost family members," John Quign, event goer, said. "It really hits home that knowing that someone you know could be in one of those hearse any day from a senseless act of violence. "
"Everybody keeps losing loved ones," Natasha Walker, who lost her husband to violence, described.
Families of victims stood in the crowd.
"No, it's not. It can happen to you. We never thought anything like this would happen to our family and it happened. He was gone within a split second, and we didn't even know," Walker said.
Event goers like Walker hope the Sunday's large turn out is a sign the city is ready to move forward.
"It really says the community wants to see a difference. We are striving for a difference and a change to clean up the violence of Baton Rouge," Quign said.
Walker exclaimed, "Get the message out to young people that this doesn't have to happen the murder. Violence doesn't have to happen. "
Similar hearse motorcade and rallies will be held throughout the state. The final rally will be held in New Orleans in August.