The city of Shreveport, Louisiana, is quite proud of the students at Loyola College Preparatory School. They are very active in the community and annually sponsor events to help the disadvantaged. They collect food baskets for those in need, clothing for those who may not have the same and they helped with the neighborhood revitalization efforts when the city was rocked by a senseless and brutal murder.
Mr. Chester Howell, a car salesman, was brutally murdered by two men while accompanying them on a test drive. The men had robbed an Iowa bank prior to this senseless act, and they were arrested by the police and charged with both crimes. Unfortunately the suspects needed a vehicle, and Mr. Howell became a statistic because of it.
Tiffani Howell was a student at Loyola College Prep when her father was murdered. His death was as devastating to the students of the close-knit school as it was to his family. Her classmates rallied to her side and made sure she and the family had all their needs met. Some delivered food to the home, some called and made sure they always had company when needed and still others prayed. However, the student body wanted to do more.
The freshman class began to work on a march against violence in the community. They wanted to show that violence was unacceptable and to give comfort to the family as well. The March Against Violence would give the Howell family support in addition to the thirty-seven other murder victim’s families in the Shreveport/Bossier City area from the year prior.
Four hundred students joined together with administrators and residents support. The event received widespread media coverage, which helped spread the message of non-violence that it sought to promote. The Howells and other family members of other victims expressed their appreciation, and the students of Loyola were able to heal a little more because of the march. The students felt they had done something positive in the aftermath of a negative situation. They all expressed their concern for their community and the families that had been so devastated by the senseless violence. The compassion and caring were amazing, and the school wants to keep the fire alive and have planned a second March against Violence for March 19, 2000. This annual event will create a permanent sign of hope for the community.