This wasn’t how I imagined spending my Classic weekend.
Hundreds of frantic phone calls to friends, countless tears shed and questions later, students all over the campus of Florida A&M are mourning the sudden death of Marching ‘100′ drum major and student Robert Champion.
This isn’t the first death of a FAMU student this semester, and it never gets easier to report, or even talk about for that matter. Whenever my phone rings in the middle of the night from another editor, it’s never good news.
In this case, it was the worst news. Parents and other family members had to be notified that their child, during what was supposed to be a time of celebration after “showing out” against the Bethune-Cookman Marching Wildcats, was pronounced dead after allegedly suffering heart failure.
I’m tired, and hopefully enough students on campus are tired too. Too many Rattlers and former Rattlers are dying young and, sometimes, unnecessarily. No parent sends his or her child to school to see them return in a body bag. College is supposed to be a place to receive a quality education, form life-long bonds with friends and figure out who you are and what you want to do in life.
But even in our little niche on the Hill, where it’s so easy to forget what’s beyond campus, real life can slip in faster than the blink of an eye and remind us of what’s really important.
Sadly enough, it takes situations like that of Champion’s death to remind us of that. In the grand scheme of things, winning or losing a football game, joining one group or organization, clinging to a certain image for acceptance or power, and so many other instances that too easily distract and blind FAMU students, are irrelevant.
Because death doesn’t care how many awards you have hanging on your wall, how much money you have in your wallet, or how many followers you have on Twitter. Like life, those things are fleeting.
Now is the time to begin shaping how we want to be remembered by clinging to the intangible.
I’m not naïve. I don’t expect everyone on campus to hold hands and sing “We Are the World.”
However, the campus shouldn’t just unify to honor the life of Champion. Every Rattler reading this story should unite to honor his death with truth, honesty and respect for each person’s life.
Pray for Champion’s family, that they find peace and justice in his death.