‘I am walking for her’: Woman walks at domestic violence event to keep her sister’s name alive

Lashonda Wilson was killed 20 years ago by her husband

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Over a thousand people gathered downtown Saturday morning to raise awareness about domestic violence at the 14th annual Hubbard House “Stand up and Stride Domestic Violence Awareness Walk.”

One person who attended the event at Riverfront Plaza was Latoya Calhoun.

She lost her sister, Lashonda Wilson, to domestic violence in 2003.

Wilson was shot in a murder-suicide by her husband.

“It was world-shattering losing my sister 20 years ago,” Calhoun said.

When it happened, Calhoun said she couldn’t believe it.

“Moving forward was tough initially because you have to get used to the loss, but it became, I don’t want to say easier but it became more tolerable as I spoke out more about it,” Calhoun said.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence.

Kristi Brandon, the chief development and administration officer for Hubbard House, said because of all that victims go through, her organization is here to offer them support.

“Hubbard House serves about 5,000 survivors of domestic violence every year. Part of them come through our emergency shelter. It’s a safe place where they can go if they’re experiencing domestic violence. We also have an outreach center on Beach Boulevard,” Brandon said.

Also at today’s walk was the group Men Against Violence Against Women.

Brandon Sherlinski, who is with that group as well as on the executive committer for Hubbard House, said they were there to spread the message that no one deserves to be assaulted — and that it’s also important for men to do more.

“It’s not just enough for us to not be an abuser any more, that’s an important part, but it’s not enough, Sherlinski said. “We need to step in and become more active and solving problems with domestic violence.”

Calhoun said the most important thing about being at the walk today was keeping her sister’s name alive.

“I am walking for her so she didn’t die in vain,” Calhoun said.

Today’s event organizers are hoping to have even more people attend the annual walk next year.

The next big Hubbard House event is the Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast in October.

About the Author:

Khalil Maycock joined the News4JAX team in November 2022 after reporting in Des Moines, IA.