Racine County just hired a Violent Crime Reduction Coordinator. Nakeyda Haymer has been working in the community with family members and loved ones who’ve lost someone to violence. Now she will fill that role in an official government capacity, a role that was inspired by her work in the area.
Her violence intervention work comes from a familiar place. Haymer’s brother, D’Anthony Keenan was murdered in 2017 in Michigan. And since then, she has dedicated herself to supporting others who’ve lost a loved one.
“When you lose somebody it does hurt, you do have a void but there’s ways to fill that void instead of violence and retaliating you can build things positively and create a purpose and passion from the pain,” Haymer says.
Haymer’s career has focused on being a support system for those that may not have one. She relocated to the Racine area around 10 years ago to work with Racine’s Department of Corrections. She later moved over to working in the school district. Then onto re-entry work for young adults 18-24 through the Windows to Work program.
“And I just honestly believe that if you have one person that believes in you, that can go far,” Haymer expresses. “So just being open and willing to be that one person in a lot of people’s lives and hoping that they create better futures for themselves.”
In her new role she hopes to continue bringing positive change to Racine County through community partnerships and her presence.
“It comes from just being genuine, you know, and one of the most important messages I would like to relay to other people is just following your heart.”
Every year since her brother’s death, Haymer celebrates his December birthday. Last year, she was able to host a remembrance brunch for him and was able to feed 11 families during the holiday season.
“Holidays are hard when you lose somebody that you love and you have that empty seat at the table,” she says. “So I just really wanted to also, you know, with the season of giving, enjoy and spread the joy, I wanted to be able to do that.”
Haymer continues to work as the state director of Voices of Black Mothers United Wisconsin, a nonprofit that works closely with law enforcement, local government agencies and other groups to prevent violence on a local level.
She will be starting an advocacy group for families affected by violence at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Community Center in Racine. The group will meet every third Thursday.