KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A celebration for Jajuan Latham was held Friday with family, friends, and the community. The message was break the silence and stop the violence.
A year ago Sunday, Jajuan Latham, 12, was shot in the head while sitting in the back of his father’s parked car in Mechanicsville during what police say was a gang-related shooting at Danny Mayfield Park.
“Stop the violence. Put down the guns. Just try to help all the youth as well. Try to stay away from all the gangs. Just making sure that they never want to join a gang or be part of whatever is going on in the streets nowadays.” said Porter.
Family and friends shared personal memories, songs, and prayers for Jajuan during the memorial at Eternal Life Harvest Center.
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“It makes me laugh because everyone always has something funny to say about him. He always made other laugh or happy.” said Porter.
The memorial had another purpose – to introduce the Neighborhood Awareness Review Committee, a partnership between the Mechanicsville, Park Ridge, Lonsdale, East Knoxville, Ridge-brook, Western Heights, and Park City communities as well as the Knoxville Police Department, City Officials and the NAACP.
The committee is spearheaded by a Mechanicsville council member, David Gillette, who says the group is to remind people in every community change starts one person at a time.
“The Neighborhood Awareness Review Committee. What that committee is gonna be responsible for doing is getting together once a month. Talk with the police chief and city officials in some of the issues we’re having in our community and we’re wanting to come up with solutions to them.” said Gillette.
Gillette says the Neighborhood Awareness Review Committee plans to start meeting every month to discuss violence in the community and how to prevent it.