ORLANDO, Fla. – First responders and the Orlando community came out for the inaugural Stop The Violence and Embrace Inc. Unity Walk through downtown in honor of the organization’s late founder Jack Williams Jr. and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.
Seth Clayton, Debra Clayton’s husband, took a moment to remember his wife ahead of the event Saturday.
“She was just one of those people that would give you the shirt off of her back,” he said. “She would see someone in the street and just you know, ‘Hey, how you doing? You having a good day?’ You know, that kind of person. She cared about people.”
Clayton was fatally shot outside of an Orange County Walmart in 2017 by Markeith Loyd, who at the time was on the run after having shot and killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon. Loyd was found guilty in both shootings, later sentenced to death for Clayton’s murder.
“It’s still painful to lose a loved one like anybody else,” Seth Clayton said. “It’s getting better, but like I say, it still hurts. Then, you know, when we do these kinds of events, it brings back emotions and feelings that you have but, you know, we’re dealing with it.”
The inaugural walk sought to unite participants and call for an end to senseless tragedy. It also honored Jack Williams, the late founder and CEO of “Stop The Violence and Embrace Inc.,” an Orlando-based anti-violence and mentoring organization with a stated mission to push for the prevention of violence and to mentor at-risk youth through community support projects.
Promising free food and haircuts, live music, a bounce house and more, the walk began at Exploria Stadium and ended at Lake Lorna Doone Park.
Orlando City Commissioner for District 5 Regina Hill helped organize the event, telling us she wants anyone who was a victim of a violent crime to be more than a statistic.
“They were aunts, uncles, daughters, sons, husbands and wives, and this is a lingering effect, but more so to draw attention to some of the violence that’s occurring in the community and seeing what we can do as a community to heal the community,” Hill said.
The event also celebrating Lt. Clayton’s organization, Bridging The Gap.
“That was bringing law enforcement together with the community, because we know once that is a cohesive unit...that crime goes down, police batteries and different things that we’re seeing around the country that goes down,” Hill said. “It is about unity and bridging that gap to where even to the men and women that put on uniform, their husbands, their wives, their daughters, their sons, that they are human beings also.”
Lt. Clayton’s husband said community events like Saturday’s walk were her passion.
“She was doing these things,” he said. “I had to run around and do stuff for her and no problem, she loved, she lived for this kind of stuff.”
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