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Trunk-or-Treat Halloween event aims to stop violence

“We can’t keep pointing fingers and blaming everybody for everything. This is our community and we’re going to take it back,” Willis said.

NEW ORLEANS — Setting up for this year’s Trunk-or-Treat at MLK Playground in Harvey is all about fun.

“Just the anticipation of seeing kids playing and the smiles on their faces,” said Nekisha McGlothen

Those smiles are important, because to McGlothen, this community event is also personal, as gun violence continues in New Orleans.

“That’s how I lost my son and that became normal for our youth. It doesn’t surprise them hearing that someone lost their life due to gun violence and that’s not normal. That’s not normal and it shouldn’t be that way,” McGlothen said.

Her son, Khyron Nellon, 15, was shot last August on Iberville Street near the French Quarter.

Since then, McGlothen started the K3-Lives Foundation in his memory. Its mission is to bring families together.

“He always liked getting family together. He always put together outdoor activities for the entire family, making phone calls, getting everybody out,” McGlothen said.

Continuing that in his memory and partnering with the H.O.P.E. organization founded by Michael Willis, the goal is simple.

“We can talk about problems all day but I believe that month to month, year to year if we continue to stay consistent and keep families involved, keep doing more gatherings like this, I think we can curve crime,” Willis said.

According to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, there have been 232 homicides in New Orleans this year, 187 of them involving guns. Willis says violent crime isn’t just a problem in New Orleans but extends into places like Jefferson Parish.

“We can’t keep pointing fingers and blaming everybody for everything. This is our community and we’re going to take it back,” Willis said.

Every time a McGlothen hears of another shooting, especially involving a kid, it’s a painful reminder.

“It’s heavy. It saddens me,” McGlothen said. “When I hear about it it’s almost like I replay, or I relive shortly of what I went through during that time when I lost my son.”

Not wanting another parent to have a memory like that McGlothen hopes some scary fun can stop some scary realities.

“Just changing the entire narrative and hopefully getting into some of these kids' heads as they’re younger would change the trajectory moving forward that they won’t end up being a victim or being the person victimizing someone else,” McGlothen said.

There is one of two Trunk-or-Treat events organized by Willis and McGlothen. The other is in New Orleans at Cut-Off Park in Algiers.

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