PONTIAC, Mich. – It’s an annual event held for over a decade and organized by a woman who knows the pain of losing someone all too well.
For many who have lost family members to violence, it isn’t easy putting one foot in front of the other to move forward.
Deleah Sharp’s brother was shot and killed in Pontiac in 1996.
“I was a kid at the time and really didn’t know how to process my grief,” said Sharp. “When I got older, I felt triggered every time I heard of another murder in the city.”
Sharp started the nonprofit, Identify Your Dream to help children who lost loved ones to gun violence. And for the past 13 years, she’s been hosting anti-violence gatherings in Pontiac.
This year, the Stomp Out Violence Community Healing Fair focused more on mental health.
“We are just raising awareness of the different healing techniques and options that are local and affordable,” Sharp said.
One of those options was simple as getting a massage.
“Once you receive a massage, you feel brand new,” said Get Fit And Relax owner Mateen Threlkeld while giving a massage to an attendee. “You get that blood circulating. You are able to sleep better.”
Denise Harris’s brother survived a shooting but later died of an overdose.
“I am doing the Narcan training because it wasn’t available when he had passed away,” said Harris with Healing Hearts Safety Services.
Attendee Cleve McGee lost two nephews to gun violence. He came there to continue the healing process and to find solutions.
“Everybody will blame it on the government,” said McGee. “It starts at home. I wasn’t raised to carry no gun.”