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Keeping Keli: A Mothers Journey of Awareness

"I am Renata Flot-Patterson, a victim & survivor of domestic violence. I am the mother of 4 adult children. Two boys and two girls. I have been blessed with a host of grandchildren and I was born and raised in a very large family. We are natives of New Orleans and we show up to most family events in droves. We are a very close-knit family and we gather often. There are five living generations in my immediate family and I consider this to be a blessing. On the early morning of June 6th, what seemed to be a family reunion, happened at our Biloxi home. Unfortunately, it was a family reunion that was unexpected and unplanned. As my family gathered in pain, shock, and disbelief as the news begin spreading that my youngest daughter, 34-year old, Keli Gabrielle Mornay, and her 7-month-old infant son, Brixx Nola had been murdered by Brixx Nola's father, Byrain Johnson, who was a native of the MS Gulf Coast. Byrain broke into Keli's Biloxi home where she lived as a single mother with her two older sons, Alliyano "Alli" (14) and Diovanni "Dio" (10) at that time, and her just barely new bundle of joy, Brixx Nola. The break-in happened around 3:40 am on the early morning of June 6th, 2021 and by 5:45 am, we were informed by the Biloxi Police Department that Byrain had shot Keli & Brixx then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. Keli's two eldest sons managed to escape, but before doing so, unfortunately, the youngest Dio, witnessed his mother's murder. After a 2.5-hour standoff, waiting, praying, crying, and in fear of the news that would come next, we were informed that our beautiful daughter, Keli, and her baby boy had been shot. We were also informed that Byrain had committed suicide, Then the next blow came and hit us like a ton of bricks, Keli was deceased and Baby Brixx was being rushed to the hospital and his condition was critical. Unfortunately, after another 2-hour wait at the hospital, we learned that Baby Brixx had succumbed to his injuries. At that very moment, my life and my world changed forever and I knew immediately that neither I nor my life would be changed forever.


Now, one year and four months since the passing of both of my babies. My youngest child and my youngest grandson, some believe that I am still in shock. Maybe it's the path that I have chosen, maybe it's the fact that I still get up every day and continue to move forward, or maybe it's just because I now have a voice and it's louder than ever. I am honestly not sure what it is, but what I do know is that I have a burning desire to do what I do and that is to fight, create change, push for changing laws, and most of all is the voice that my daughter never got a chance to have. Her voice and her pain and suffering were silenced in a severely toxic and frightening relationship and if we had only known half of her trials, I know that things would have certainly ended so differently. Keli and Brixx's lives had a very sad and painful ending that shocked and shook the Gulf Coast community, but I knew from that very moment, like I've never known anything so well in my life, that I had to move into action and do something to bring change. So for this, the "Keeping Keli Foundation" was immediately formed. "Keeping Keli Foundation" is a non-profit organization that supports victims, survivors, and their families who have suffered from acts of domestic violence.


The sole mission of the "Keeping Keli Foundation" is to produce, organize and manage fundraising events that will offer financial support to victims within the community who are striving to leave a domestic violence environment. The "Keeping Keli Foundation" is the founder of the "Joyful Noise Music & Mural Festival" which will be an annual festival that will bring domestic violence awareness and available resources to communities where the festival is being held. The first annual festival will take place on October 1, 2022, in Biloxi, MS. It is our goal to take this domestic violence awareness festival globally because domestic violence is everywhere.


The festival is designed to be an upbeat community event that will bring lots of fun music, a live mural painting, and many family resources that relate to domestic violence, mental health, family counseling and so much more. The festival is meant to bring a Joyful Noise to families within the community to encourage joy, peace, and harmony in all relationships. Since Keli and Brixx's passing, I have also had the opportunity to participate in quite a few radio segments, magazines, books, and televised interviews and presentations to speak on the matters of domestic violence and to educate youth and adults on how to notice the many different signs of domestic violence and knowing how to navigate an escape long before tragedy can even have a chance to strike. I know without a doubt that being an advocate for domestic violence will be my mission for the rest of my natural life. I am passionate about being my daughter, Keli's voice in hopes to save lives and to bring change."

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