LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - If you live around Fifth Avenue in Lake Charles, you may have seen the crowds of people marching through the neighborhood on Saturday.
The march, put on by Highways and Hedges, a nonprofit national outreach organization, aimed to fight crime with a message of hope.
“We target those communities that are maybe drug infested, crime infested, and we go to those on purpose," said La Vonda James, with Highways and Hedges. "Because we want to let those people know that no matter what condition that they’re in, there is hope. Their lives can be changed.”
James said their message is so effective, because they’re not talking down to people living lives of crime.
In fact, they used to be those people.
“We’re people that used to be the prostitutes, we used to be the drug addicts, we used to be those that were kicking down doors and robbing people," James said. "But now our lives have been changed, through the message of Jesus Christ.”
That’s a message that Benjamin Rhodes with Highways and Hedges said he’s a living example of.
“I’m somebody that was in and out of jail, I’m a convicted felon, I’ve been a murder in my past, I’ve been a lot of things, and God delivered me from those things," Rhodes said.
He said because he has walked in those shoes, he’s able to reach people in need.
He also said he sees that need in Lake Charles.
“When we see on the news, constant murders, constant drug raids, constant burglars, a lot of times people are in these conditions and engaged in this lifestyle, because they haven’t seen anything different," Rhodes said.
That is the goal of their marches, showing that there is a different way through real life examples.
“I’m no longer a murderer, I’m not longer a drug dealer, I’m no longer a drug addict," said Rhodes. "I go back to these places because I know I have the testimony that despite what you come from, or despite where you’ve been, what you’ve engaged in, there’s hope for you.”
Highways and Hedges is holding a revival at the Burton Coliseum July 9 through July 13.