NewsLocal News


Community members supporting victims of gun violence

Posted at 6:42 PM, Dec 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-22 13:58:54-05

Community organizations are working to help honor those who have been affected by gun violence and find a way to end it.

MaKayla Bryant was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, now her sorority sisters are working to turn a tragedy into something positive by continuing to give back to their community.

The 22-year-old Florida A&M University graduate was fatally shot during a robbery involving an illegal drug deal earlier this year.

As a way to honor her name and willingness and give to others, Bryant's line sisters decided to continue a scholarship she started for students at Florida A&M University.

"My line sisters will never be the same. We have a missing part of us but it's about what we do with that pain that we're all feeling, and the scholarship is the first step of doing that," said Tyra Moline.

The scholarship, fully funded by Bryant's line sisters, is open until December 27. Any FAMU student can apply to earn up to $2,700 for the spring semester.

Moline said Bryant didn't deserve what happened to her and wants people to stop and think how their actions can negatively affect someone else's life. "You're taking away the lives of wonderful, educated and beautiful human beings and it's not worth it because her life ended and there was so much more that she had to give to the world," said Moline.

According to the Tallahassee Police Department, there have been 192 shootings as of December 15th in Tallahassee. 73 of them resulted in injuries. Of the 21 total homicides during that time, 14 have been by firearm.

Another one of those victims is Travis, TJ, Huntley Jr. He was fatally shot at FAMU's outdoor basketball courts in November.

TJ also had a passion for helping others and volunteered with Big Bend Habitat for Humanity for 6 months. "He's definitely an amazing kid. Gone way before his time. Just doing something that he loved," said Executive Director Antoine Wright.

Habitat for Humanity started a fund to support the family of TJ Hunter. To donate, click here.

Wright decided the least he could do was to step in, raising $8,000 to pay for TJ's funeral service. "To be a dad, to have a son who's 20 and to lose another young man who's like a son who's 20, it just hits way too close to home. But it always does, it always does," said Wright.

Wright also plans on starting a scholarship or a job training program in TJ's honor. He's still accepting donations through the end of the year for TJ's family as well.

President of the Tallahassee Urban League Curtis Taylor said although these are terrible situations, good things will come out of it. "This is unbelievable, but we realize we've got to do things differently," said Taylor.

In the wake of increased gun violence, Taylor has started community police forums to strengthen relationships between community members, young people, and local police. He believes having these conversations can curb the violence. "Every time you look around, there is gun violence in our community and so we as citizens we've got to say enough is enough," said Taylor.

The next crime prevention forum will be at the Tallahassee urban League on January 16.