PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- "Honestly, I had a very, very traumatic and difficult life," said Tara Jean D'Antonio.
It would be impossible to see this from the surface, as the nutrition specialist was energetically leading a work out session today.
"I went through a period where I was addicted to drugs, homeless about 11 years ago and I was 285 pounds," she said.
125 lost pounds later, she appears to be in the best shape of her life.
Earlier this year, she joined a litany of exercise fiends who were displaced from their routines by COVID-19.
"In the beginning of the pandemic, nobody had anywhere to work out," she said. "And I knew it was an opportunity to raise money and awareness."
She began hosting outdoor exercise classes at the Philadelphia Museum of Art under the moniker, "Workout for Change." Initially supporting causes targeting racial injustice and inequality, she focused today's session on gun violence.
"This violence is nonsense. Nonsense. This city is way too beautiful," she belted through a microphone to more than a dozen participants.
Mixed martial artist Brandon Williams, dubbed the "Hooded Trainer," joins D'Antonio at the helm during their unified workout classes.
"I think if we did more of that... too easy. World Peace," he said.
Their flying fists and dripping beads of sweat were scored by an electric music performance by Church Done Different. Its pastor, Jamal Vann, had a powerful message to share about gun violence.
"Mom, dad, grandma, everyone starts to suffer," he suggested. "And so when that happens 300, 400 times a year, how many families in that community have been shattered?"
Vann took a moment to speak directly to those who resort to violence.
"It's not worth it," he said. "Anger is the most immature emotion we have. We start off with it. I guarantee there's another solution."
The reverberations felt through their music and messaging today should provide a respite for anyone who has lost hope.
According to the Philadelphia Police Department, there have been 349 homicide victims this year, compared to 257 at this time last year.
2019 saw a total of 356 homicide victims. It was the deadliest year in terms of homicides since 2007. This year's total is close behind, still with three months remaining in 2020.
D'Antonio encourages everyone to become more educated, be the best person they can be, and share information about mentorship programs.
To learn more about Workout for Change, visit their Instagram page.