Neighborhood Looks To Change Its Image

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Tallahassee, Fla. 4-30-13

It's been more than a year since the Griffin Heights Neighborhood was caught in the crossfire of a major drug bust.

Then, over Memorial Day weekend of 2012, Victor Whittaker was shot and killed in the streets. All of this has not helped the reputation of this once proud neighborhood.

"You don't see kids riding their bikes," said Pastor Rudy Ferguson of the New Birth Tabernacle of Praise Church. "You don't see them playing basketball outside anymore. It's like this community has become a desert."

Pastor Ferguson has seen his fair share of crime and drugs off of Alabama Street.

"It hadn't gotten any better the way we as a residents of this community would like it to be. Whenever there is no hope, people are desperate and begin to do desperate things."

Denise Vickers-Leon lives in Griffin Heights as does most of her family. She wants to be part of the change.

"I take it personally because I know what the neighborhood once was," said Vickers-Leon. "So it's my mission to do everything that I can to bring it back."

Sadly not everyone is on board with trying to rid the streets of violence and drugs here in Griffin Heights. Both Vickers-Leon and Pastor Ferguson have been threatened to stop what they're doing.

"It's worse than they want to admit and that's why they don't like it and a lot of people feel like we are pointing the finger at them."

The two don't plan on slowing down their effort to unite the community and they hope everyone can get on board.

"You know we're like this if the shoe fits, put it on and dance because that's what we're going to do to rebuild this community. We're going to dance all the way through it we're going to shout around."

Pastor Ferguson plans on holding a memorial service sometime in May for shooting victim Victor Whittaker.

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