Crime Crisis: Jackson man turns criminal past into activism

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – In 1998, Terun Moore was a kid in North Jackson. He loved his family and had hoop dreams, but no one believed in them like the guys in the neighborhood.

“I get down with the gangsters or whatever because I’m loyal to these guys now, because they believed in me. It was like I had something to prove and in the daytime. I’m playing the square role, but at night, I’m another person,” he explained.

At 17 years old, his life changed forever.

“During my senior year, I caught a murder charge at Lake Hico. I was incarcerated in 1998, and in 2001, I was sentenced to life without parole.”

Moore said the prison had his body, but not his mind. He stayed hopeful for a second chance. Since his release, he’s been telling his story and impacting the community through Strong Arms of Jackson and the People’s Advocate Institute.

“We got into what we call credible messenger violence interruption, which is really people like me that went down the wrong road and just teaching people about the consequences of our actions.”

Moore said one of the factors he thinks plays a part in crime today is the lack of entertainment.

“Young people out here don’t really have any activities. No mall, no skating rink, nothing to really participate in, but it’s a gun show every two weeks. What do you expect when you’re idle all the time?”

According to Moore, it’s important to actually interact with the youth.

“We’ve met some guys that we know most people wouldn’t approach, but we’ve told them about what we’ve got going on and they want to participate.”

Brittany Bowman, with the Bowman Group, agrees that caring about people makes a difference.

“The thing that I’ve noticed the most is that people want to feel valued. They want to feel that someone else cares about them,” she said.

Moore said changing the situation starts with changing people’s perceptions.

“Sometimes when you’re stuck in them neighborhoods you become that i’m showing people that you don’t have to become that.”

And no matter what you do, you can get a second chance.

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