Woman starts "Project Forgive" movement 16 years after mother's murder

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) A woman in North Central Florida is starting a movement to forgive after she posted a video to YouTube reading a letter to her mother's killer.

Noell Spann was 7 years old when she had to call 911. Her mom's body was found in a river behind her house in Jacksonville 16 years ago. She said her mom, Deborah, was killed by a family friend, and she was molested afterwards. "

You took away so much from me. My mom didn't get to see my graduate, I didn't pick out a dress for prom with her, she won't be there to pick out a dress for my wedding, she didn't get to see her grandkids born," she said.

Spann started "Project Forgive," as a movement for people to forgive those who victimized them.

"It turned into a black hole in my heart. I became really hardened, I became really angry," Spann said.

She said her faith in God changed her heart. "Being able to forgive and say what happened to you, allows you to let go of that burden that you've been carrying for so long."

She posted a video on YouTube to launch her movement "Project Forgive," which has three points for others like her: sharing your story, self healing, and nowing you're not alone.

"When you harbor that resentment, that anger toward somebody, you're giving that person power over you in a sense. So by forgiving them you now take that power from their hands back to you," her good friend and supporter Karzaira Florence said.

Spann said her mom was a giver, and she hopes to build a legacy of forgiveness and healing her mom would be proud of. "I think right now she's smiling knowing that I turned pain into something positive. I'm finally living, and the biggest thing is I'm helping other people overcome their own battles."

Spann said her mother's killer did serve time in prison.

For more information on how to participate in Project Forgive, email projectforgivefl@gmail.com.