March on M’boro

Published 9:37 am Monday, April 25, 2016

MURFREESBORO – What started as a quiet conversation between friends has sprouted wings and taken flight.

At 1 p.m. on Sunday (April 24), members of the NAACP Chapter at Chowan University will stage a peaceful march and rally, all in an effort to heighten awareness to an alarming increase in the number of gun-related acts of violence.

For Chapter members at Chowan, that violence hit too close to home when DaMarco Trevon Duncan, 21, a student from Temple Hills, Maryland, was gunned down in the early morning hours of Dec. 5, 2015 at an off-campus party near Murfreesboro.

“We suffered a great loss in December when a friend, a fellow student and NAACP Chapter member here at Chowan was shot and killed,” said Dana Williams of Duncan.

Chowan’s NAACP Chapter, now 50 members strong, was formed three years ago. Williams, majoring in Business Management with a minor in Marketing at Chowan, was among its charter members. She served as the Chapter president for two years, relinquishing that position in December after completing her required courses and returned to her native Richmond, VA. She will graduate next month

Williams said the march is being held to bring more awareness to violent crimes, especially among young adults.

She added that Duncan’s murder occurred right before the eyes of some Chowan students who were attending that party.

“Having this march helps us cope with his death,” she said. “It’s also being held to bring everyone together and to help bridge the gap between the community and the university.”

Williams stressed that Duncan’s murder wasn’t the first time that some of the chapter members have experienced the cold, hard facts of gun violence.

“Some of our members have been through this before, seeing friends and loved ones become murder victims,” she said.

Williams said the idea for the march and rally began as a conversation between her and a fellow Chowan student.

“We were just trying to cope with DaMarco’s tragic death and our little talk became a movement,” she noted. “We haven’t forgot DaMarco, but this event is for all those left to suffer in the wake of violence.

“Young people are dropping like flies; this is sad,” she continued. “We just want this to stop before we lose another friend. We want to promote change, unity and peace.”

When asked what she felt was causing the rise in violent crimes, Williams said, “We have a problem, a big problem, in America with gun violence. What I believe is causing this problem is the environment that some young people are in, a bad environment. They watch too much violence on TV; they play violent video games. They’ve evolved to a point where they don’t know how to be real men, those that can settle their differences without resorting to violence. What we want to do with this march is to show that we want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

She said the rally is scheduled to include members of the Duncan family, who have been invited to make remarks.

The rally will also include students reciting a peace creed, pledging to do all they can to help prevent future acts of violence. Williams also asked students to write a letter to Duncan, as if he was still alive, and read those letters aloud on Sunday.

“I’m hopeful this event will start a chain reaction and stop this epidemic of crime among all races,” Williams stressed. “We need to start talking, no matter race or creed. We need to love each other, not kill each other.

“I know this won’t bring DaMarco back, but we just want to bring awareness to acts of violent crime and hopefully this will ignite change in our society. All it takes is one person; then that spreads to another, then to a group and pretty soon you have a movement,” she added.

Williams said all the proper permits have been obtained from the Town of Murfreesboro and Chowan University to hold the march. She said Murfreesboro Police Chief Darryl Rowe has been very helpful in guiding the group through this process.

“There is triumph in tragedy; God has a purpose for everything in life; he knows why this and that happens, and we will lean on him to direct us in finding the answers we need to co-exist in society without having to resort to violence,” Williams concluded.

The march is scheduled to begin near the Murfree Center on Broad Street and make its way to the Chowan campus. The public is invited to attend.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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