LANSING, Mich. — On Friday, when Voices of Color held their third annual domestic violence rally at the state capitol, friends and family of Alexis Brown and Michelle Roper were there to speak about their deaths last month.
Brown and Roper were shot and killed in a home on Michigan Avenue last month. Brion Reynolds, the father of Brown's children, has been charged in their deaths.
Brown's girlfriend, Shantelle Coulter said Brown was trying to leave a toxic relationship with Reynolds before she died.
"She told me plenty of times that it has happened before and she was trying to find a way out," Coulter said.
Before Brown died, Coulter was trying to help her start fresh, but it was too late.
When talking about what Brown meant to her, Coulter got emotional.
“She means every word in the dictionary, beautiful, gorgeous, smart, loving, caring, she was my best friend and the love of my life. If I could give up anything today to bring her back and her mother, I would," she said.
People gathered from Lansing, Detroit and other parts of Michigan to share their stories. Organizer and founder of Voices of Color, Tanesha Ash-Shakoor said this event hits home.
"I was in an abusive relationship back in 2006, 2007. I went through these stages of abuse from just verbal, the mental, the physical, until the point I was being raped by my abuser," she said.
Shakoor believes events like this are important because domestic violence happens often in our community.
Aondray Worhty shared his mother's story.
“To this day I can still hear my mother’s screams, I can still remember him lay on top of her with his knee on her back and her arms pinned behind her. As a child you can only imagine the impression that this left on a young mind," Worthy said.
Domestic violence is a serious matter. If you're looking for helpful resources, click here.