National News

Teen finds strength in tragedy after sister's death at the hands of his mother

Posted July 16, 2018 5:41 p.m. EDT

— At just 16-years-old, Rayvon Owens is finding strength in his tragedy.

Last Tuesday, Rayvon's mother Ursula Owens was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, convicted in the beating death of 5-year-old Ta'Neajah McCloud. McCloud's mother, Tequila Crump, was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Rayvon, Ta'Neajah's older brother, testified in court against his mother during the trial. saying he witnessed the abuse and alerted authorities. It has been an unimaginable year and a half for the young man - and a difficult decade before that. Rayvon remembers abuse beginning from the age of four and continuing until he was at least 10-yearsold.

On Sunday, just before a radio segment on The Art McCoy Show on 1490 WERE, Rayvon introduced his new organization, "Soldiers for Ta'Neajah."

The goal is to give children a voice in their communities and to act as a support system for those with shared experiences.

"So they know that they're not alone. Because that's the lesson I had to learn, that I wasn't alone," Rayvon said.

He said he finds his strength through his family and through motivating others. Speak to him for a few minutes and it is difficult not to feel inspired by his poise and thoughtfulness.

"I want people to know what I went through because I want to tell my story. I want my story to save someone's life," he said.

Since his sister's death, he has led marches and rallies calling for change in the area of children and family services.

DeVinah Giles is Rayvon's step-mother. She said she is proud of him beyond words.

"When most kids might have lost their mind, he stayed headstrong and focused. Testifying against his mother, I know that was hard," Giles said.

But difficult things is what Rayvon does best - and he is just getting started using his voice to help others.