Lawton, OKLa._ In the past, some local pastors have used prayers, marches and music to stop the violence in Lawton, now they're using dance to raise awareness. Saturday afternoon, they held a stomp the violence concert. Organizers with the "Stop the Violence" campaign invited sororities and fraternities from Langston University in central Oklahoma to put on a step show at Lawton's McMahon auditorium. They said Saturday's show is a part of the ongoing fight to stop the violence they say is crippling our communities.
Lawton community activist Tony Que,who also organized the event, started the show with a prayer.
"God you know the needs of each and every family."
Nearly two-hundred people bowed their heads, joined hands and listened to a Que pray for more peace in the community. Not long after the prayer, the fun started. A Langston University sorority and fraternity, brought the house down with their engaging footwork and age-old chants. Stepper Mia Woodard said she is glad she made the trip. She said Langston held a similar concert to help curb the violence in its surrounding community.
"We had high school bands come out and we had the Langston university march and pride band and we just performed...it's great, I mean we need to do more things that are helping our community to become more positive in this world," said Woodard.
Former gang member Jeff Elbert spoke at the event about his rocky past and much brighter future.
"These streets, they know me as a different name--white boy groove from Hoover criminal gang, " said Elbert.
Elbert said fortunately he managed to escape that gang-ridden life. He said he decided to share his dark past to encourage other troubled youth to make the same choice he did.
"It's not just up to our police who are here to protect...it's up to us in the community and if we can't come together as one, we will continue to be divided," he said.
Jamar Lockhart, one of the event's coordinators, said that is the goal of the event, to bring a divided community together to stop the violence.
"We know we can't completely get rid of the violence, if we can put an events that'll bring our youth into a safe environment, where they can see there are other students that sought out higher education, it may give them example for them to go to one of the higher education institutes here in Oklahoma, " said Lockhart.
Many in the crowd said the effort seems to be working. They said since the "Stop the Violence" campaign started, they have seen more people in the community coming together for a positive cause.
Organizers of the concert said the step show was also a competition. They awarded sorority Tau-Beta-Sigma won five-hundred dollars for being the crowd's favorite.