Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: "Sister 4 Life"

By Ursula Madden - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - In 1998, domestic violence reshaped the Reverend Rosalyn Nichols' life.  Her childhood friend, Rosemari Pleasure was shot to death by her boyfriend.

Since then, Nichols has been on a crusade.

"When we started in 1998 nobody was even talking about domestic violence," she said. "It was a private matter. It took place behind closed doors."

But through the "Sister 4 Life" 5K Walk and Run, people are talking more openly about the domestic violence crisis - a crisis Nichols hopes to eliminate.  She co-founded the 5K race, which helps fund prevention programs developed by her non-profit group, "For a More Excellent Way."

"We are more interested in how do we get people not to end up in the shelters, not to end up in the courts, not to end up in the morgue, which is the harder work, because if you are not a victim or a perpetrator then you think it won't happen to you," she said.

The fight to eliminate domestic violence is a steep climb.  A little more than half of all violent crimes committed in Memphis and Shelby County are domestic, a fact highlighted by the recent murder of nurse Taffi Crawford, who police say was gunned down by her ex-boyfriend in a hospital parking lot.

But Nichols is hopeful.

"If half the crime is all about how people love each other, and you can get people to love each other better," she said. "That's really exciting, to think about what our town will be like."

While she misses her friend, Nichols says her efforts against domestic violence are about much more than her personal loss.

"It's not just about what happened in March of 98.  It's really is a about a life and what happens when we don't appreciate the lives of the people around us," she said.

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