"In memory of a friend lost to violence and to those who are still affected by it. Here's to you Kerry Lea! I'm here to bring awareness to the spreading of violence in our lives. This violent cycle has to stop."
- Teresa Bayoki Waseksuk on her Facebook Page - "Kerry Me Not Bury Me"
By John Speer
Kerry’s friends (l-r in photo) Teresa Bayoki Waseksuk, Trudi Mathes and Shellina Putney along withDelonda Pushetonequa are mounting a campaign to stop violence.
"I was hurting so bad-I wanted somebody to carry me, but I was feeling so hurt," said Teresa Bayoki Waseksuk. "I got the idea, so I stated talking to who I could trust and who Kerry could trust."
For more information:
Facebook - Kerry Me Not Bury Me
Waseksuk said that was her reaction upon the death of her friend since their school years at South Tama, Kerry O'Clair-Jefferson.
O'Clair-Jefferson, 32, was allegedly murdered on Sept. 25 in Tama, the victim of what authorities say were stab wounds inflicted by her mother-in-law who is in jail awaiting trial.
"It came to me - I'm tired of all the negativity out there, it turns to violence and abuse. I want to bring more awareness to people before it's too late," Waseksuk said last Thursday.
She was quickly joined in her effort by three more childhood friends of O'Clair-Jefferson: Trudi Mathes, Shellina Putney and Delonda Pushetonequa, all of Tama.
"We decided to start a campaign to bring awareness of violence which happens in everyday life. We're here to spread the love and stop the violence," Waseksuk said is their goal.
Waseksuk said her Facebook page - Kerry Me Not Bury Me - has resulted in "tremendous response." It already had 404 "likes" on Monday, Nov. 18.
The women plan a number of events coming up to raise this awareness and aid in funding their efforts.
At the Mens Native American Basketball Tournament coming up Nov. 27-29 at the Sac and Fox Tribal Center Gym, they're hosting a basketball "knockout tournament" between games.
A basketball shoot-out contest with boy-girl teams is planned for Dec. 1-3 also at the Tribal Center.
A clothing drive, craft night, seminar, message bracelets and signs are among other ideas in the works to help to spread their stop the violence message.
Marlene O'Clair, Kerry's mother said she is supportive of what Kerry's friends are doing. "They've come to me with their ideas and there hasn't bee a bad one yet," she said.
Waseksuk hopes are they can add more members to their group.
"Rest in Peace Krazi Kerry" - inscribed on necklace tags distributed by Kerry O'Clair Jefferson's friends and fellow workers at the iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.