By Kelli Sharpe
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The mood was somber as expected, as family members, many visiting TSU for the first time, were greeted by President Glenda Glover along with James Shaw, Jr. and his family. The seven families were here to meet Shaw, Jr., the young man hailed as a hero following the deadly mass shooting on April 22 at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.
“I truly wish I was welcoming you to our university under different circumstances, but please know you have all been in our thoughts and prayers since the horrific events of April 22 unfolded,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The Shaws are a part of the TSU family as alumni, and we reached out to them immediately as a show of support because that’s what families do. On behalf of our university, we welcome you as family, and are here for you as well.”
Following a brief meeting with the families, the small group shared lunch and got an opportunity to thank Shaw, Jr., for his heroism and actions following the shootings. Emotions after emotions were displayed as mothers, brothers and others representing those still hospitalized thanked Shaw. All consumed by tears.
“I would have lost two sons if it weren’t for you,” said a tearful Shaundelle Brooks. Her sons Akilah and Abede Dasilva were both there. Akilah didn’t survive.
“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here,” said Abede Dasilva. “I’m able to be here for my mother because of you.”
The group walked to the campus amphitheater to release balloons to honor their loved ones. The eight families, representing those killed or injured, held hands and bowed heads as they were lead in prayer. Four black balloons were released for those who died.
Shaw has repeatedly said he doesn’t consider himself a hero. However, following the shooting he immediately began helping the families of those killed or injured by creating a GoFundMe account to help with expenses.
As a show of support and to highlight his act of bravery, TSU set up a scholarship in Shaw’s name. Donations to the James Shaw, Jr. Scholarship Fund can be paid through the link below or by mail. Please send to: The James Shaw, Jr. Scholarship Fund at Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University Foundation, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd. Box 9542, Nashville, TN 37209
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Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
About Tennessee State University
With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.