LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A local pastor is looking to stop senseless killings and prevent more bloodshed in the wake of the murder of a young Lafayette man, 20-year-old Zaveon Willis.
Lawrence Levy, the Senior Pastor at Freedom World Ministries, is hoping his event called, “The Funeral is Cancelled” will show young people the impact violent crime can have.
Levy said he hopes the images will strike a chord with people in the community.
“The men in Lafayette, stand up and let’s connect as kings and begin to mentor these babies because at the end of the day, many of them are fatherless,” Levy said. “Many of them don’t have a mentor. Many of them don’t have a man or a male figure to look up to that can lead them into adulthood, so at the end of the day, they’re being raised by things that they shouldn’t be raised by.”
By using actors in a live re-enactment depicting scenes of gang violence, drug abuse and police brutality, he hopes to send a powerful message for youth.
Community activists like Levy and Christopher Bernard organized the event to raise awareness for young kids choosing a violent lifestyle.
“We don’t want to just let something happen and say, ‘Okay, it’s a normal thing.’ No, we’re not putting up with that,” Bernard said.
“These kids need us. I really don’t think it’s the kids’ faults. I think that it’s the community at large’s fault, and we are trying to stop this gun violence completely,” Levy said.
He says the community must come together to create change, and that starts with realizing what’s happening in the community.
“So I’m asking every man in Lafayette that cares, black white, rich, poor, pastor, non-pastor, it doesn’t matter. Stand up. Come together. Connect with us so we can find out what the solution is,” Levy said.