Visitors to the block party enjoy live music. Andrea Morales
Mid-June means community on Tate Street. For the past 20 years, South Memphis resident Betty Isom has hosted a Stop the Violence Block Party, which is meant to inspire pride in the community and decry violence.
For the last 20 years, music, food and community have been staples on Tate Street in mid-June.
Down the street from her previous residence at the Cleaborn Homes housing projects,
Betty Isom hosted an annual block party outside her house on the South Memphis street.
This year, to commemorate a milestone year and uplift a message against violence, a stage and musical acts were added to an already full afternoon of enjoyment.
Betty Isom, founder of the Stop the Violence block party, surrounded by friends and family.
As the sun started to set, two white hearses made their way through the crowd. Isom, who works with the Freedom From Unneccesary Negatives organization (F.F.U.N.) organization and uses her work in her community to denounce violence, brought the vehicles as a dramatic and somber reminder.
"Don't let this be your last ride," said the voices from the stage as people quietly milled around.
Folks watched acts on stage from a parked car on the Tate Street.
Songs celebrating joy while echoing the calls against violence and pain carried the event into the evening as kids and neighbors snacked on the food, provided for free with a suggested donation. Folks from Isom's church, the Downtown Church, helped at a fish fry station and a grill stayed lit into the night.