Non-Profit brings together grieving families to find resolution for violent crimes

NORTH ST. LOUIS CITY -Strangers connected by crime gathered as a group Friday night, on a mission to put an end to violent crime in some of St. Louis City most dangerous neighborhoods. It’s all part of Better Family Life’s ongoing initiative and movement to bring peace and safety to communities riddled with crime.

“You can’t really empathize with a person unless you’ve actually been there and have felt that particular pain,” said Ricardo Crossland.

Crossland said his 26-year-old son was gunned down in 2010 after leaving a club in East St. Louis. His killer was never caught.

“It gives us a comforting feeling to be around other people who have experienced the same thing because that kind of strengthens us,” Crossland continued.

Glenda Lay said that she never thought she would be attending events that bring attention to ending violence. That’s until her sister, a 42-year-old mother of two was randomly shot dead as she drove on Highway 40 back in 2014.

“It not normal,” Lay said, “we need to not become accustomed to this, we need to be outraged.”

But there is some hope to reducing if not ending violence altogether as the organization continues to hold conversations about restoring peace while recruiting the help of local churches and most recently, successfully establishing three de-escalation centers.

During Friday night’s gathering, it was apparent that neighbors in communities where violent crime is most rampant, will not allow tragedy to hit yet another family.

“In this community, there is room for everybody to do a little part to start making a difference,” said Lay.

The event precedes an anti-violence march that’s scheduled for March 24 at 10 a.m. at Roberts Plaza on Page and Euclid. Call 314-381-8200 to RSVP.