It’s been a little more than six months since Tyesha Simmons’ brother Travis Smith was killed.
Although the case remains unsolved, Simmons and her family are hoping to prevent other families from feeling the grief and hurt they have felt since Smith’s death.
The family has created a nonprofit organization, TeamBoskie, to raise awareness about violence through education and services to the community. “Boskie” was Smith’s family nickname.
Simmons began thinking of ways to reach out to the community about a month after her brother’s death, she said.
“I thought about all the crime and violence that is going on, and I wanted to do something to bring attention to it,” she said. “I didn’t want to sit back and do nothing.”
The organization plans to reach out to youth in neighborhoods where a lot violence is taking place and to reach youth who are at risk of getting involved in violence or being affected by violence.
“We also want to go into the schools and talk with them about bullying, peer pressure, things that may lead to violence,” she said. “We want to talk to them about consequences and making good decisions.”
Simmons also plans to have events to get the entire community involved in helping to end violence.
“It’s going to take an effort on everybody’s part – the community, city leaders, law enforcement – everyone will have to come together as one,” she said.
TeamBoskie will also serve as a system of support for other families who have been affected by violence.
Over the past few months, Simmons has been keeping a log of unsolved homicide cases and violent acts
that have occurred in the area over the years and making contact with the families.
“We’ve been through it, so we know how it affects the family and the community,” she said, adding that the organization plans to bring awareness to those cases as well.
An important piece is getting the community actively involved.
“A lot of times when it doesn’t directly affect you, people turn a blind eye to the violence,” she said. “The thing is, it’s happening everywhere. It’s happening to people of all ages.”
For more information on TeamBoskie, visit its page on Facebook.
Anyone with information on any open cases, including Smith’s, are encouraged to contact local law enforcement, said Simmons.
“Any amount of information is significant,” she