Dreams must go on, students are told

February 22, 1994|By Michael James | Michael James,Sun Staff Writer

The uncle of a Morgan State University senior slain on campus told more than 300 students last night that his nephew's dream has been shattered -- but that theirs must go on for the benefit of future black generations.

"Sean had a dream. He had a dream to graduate from Morgan State University," Joseph Jones told a packed auditorium of students. "Unfortunately, his plans were interrupted. But you can still go forward, and you should."

Several speakers at last night's memorial service and remembrance for Sean Jones, 22, an information systems major from Elmsford, N.Y., who was slain Thursday, told the crowd that they should be outraged over the death.

Dara Govan, the freshman class president, urged students who witnessed the crime to go to the police with information and not to think of Mr. Jones' death as "just another homicide" of a black man.

"Do something for Sean. Do something for your people," Ms. Govan said. "You must try to stop tragedies like this. The death of any brother or sister is not just another homicide. What is it going to take to break this cycle?"

Mr. Jones died Thursday night after he was stabbed in the back by a group of men whom he had confronted earlier for kicking his car in a campus lot. Two other students are recovering from stab wounds.

Investigators said the attack was committed by two to four teen-agers or young men who did not appear to be Morgan students.

Although no arrest had been made by last night, police said they had several leads from witnesses.

Kimberlee Wilson, a senior and member of the Student #i Government Association (SGA,) described Mr. Jones as "an everyday student, a very nice young man" who was assistant business manager of the SGA last year.

She said she was worried about the school's image in light of all the media attention about the crime.

"In light of all the negative things that have been reported about this incident, we felt there should be something positive to come out of all this," Miss Wilson said. "This could have happened at any college campus, like Johns Hopkins or Loyola or anywhere."

The junior class president, Sheronda-Rae Ball, who helped organize last night's vigil, said, "Not only is this for Sean, but it's for us. This gives us a chance to talk about this death and what it means to the campus. We came to Morgan to better ourselves. Black-on-black crime is a leading cause of death for African-Americans, and yet we still find it here at Morgan."

Terrance Banko'le, a senior art major from Philadelphia, said the crime is "a wake-up call to the youth. This was a positive, productive student, and Morgan is a productive school. But these things are happening everywhere these days."

More than two dozen students went to the microphone during the memorial and expressed their feelings about Mr. Jones' death. Before going into the auditorium, more than a hundred students wrote farewell messages to the slain student on large pieces of cardboard.

"Sean, rest in peace. I hope the world will change. No one deserves this," one student wrote. Another wrote, "Respect! You will not be forgotten! Peaceful questing, Sean."

Airrion Keenheel, a 21-year-old accounting major from Philadelphia, said his professor gave a human relations lecture hours after the stabbings.

"We talked about how our feelings get involved with our emotions," Mr. Keenheel said. "This is such a shame. It's a waste of life. You have to be aware and today you can't really say anything to anybody because you can't tell how they will react.

"But there is a lot of hope -- that's why we're in college now to get an education and help the world. There's always hope."

During the initial confrontation about 5 p.m. Thursday, Mr. Jones was on his way to class when a man kicked his car in a parking lot. Mr. Jones got out of the car and, after a brief exchange, was chased by the knife-wielding man, police said.

Mr. Jones escaped unharmed and went to a friend's house. From there, he and his friends decided to go back and find the stranger who had kicked the car, police said.

When they found the man standing in a group, a fight ensued in which Mr. Jones was fatally wounded.

His friends Shanile Shakoor and Marlon Sullivan, both 21-year-old students, were released after treatment at Union Memorial Hospital.

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