Event to shine light on life of Marcus Jackson, gun violence
Mother hopes event raises awareness of violence
By NICOLE BOWMAN-LAYTON
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Through Nicole Jackson’s son, Marcus, is gone, she still thinks of him in present tense.
“My son is an awesome person. He continues to live and because of him I’m doing this,” she said during an interview at the Chowan Herald office Thursday.
Marcus, age 23, a father to a 2-year-old son and John A. Holmes graduate, died on March 19. He was shot and killed in Durham.
The former Aces football player would have turned 24 on Monday, July 15. As a way to honor her son, Jackson is hosting a celebration and violence awareness event from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at Colonial Park.
Jackson hopes the event will honor Marcus and remember other people who have been lost to any type of violence. She asks that those who lost a loved one to violence to submit photos of the victims, along with their names and dates to her via the Marcus Jackson Tribute page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/marcusjackson.tributepage .
She also asks that those attending the event wear orange, which signified gun violence awareness.
“I hope it can become the start of a movement our town needs,” Jackson said of why she organized the event. “Violence has become a part of this community. It’s time to say something about it.”
Jackson said along the activities planned are educational tables, live entertainment and food.
“I want it to be a time where people come together and learn,” she said. “When I share what happened with others I get a reaction. Sometimes people are thankful for it.”
Violence effects each person who knew the victim differently, Jackson said. The event will give people a chance to talk with others and interact.
“Hopefully, this positive energy will be contagious,” she said.
Marcus loved food and always wanted to make sure others had food, Jackson remarked.
“He liked to make sure everyone had something to eat,” she said. “As the event moves forward, I don’t want to make people pay to eat. I want to keep it a positive vibe, a spirit-driven event with a lot of food and a lot of laughing.
“In light of it all, I want it to be a place where people can be OK to make a change,” she said. “If we don’t do anything or do something negative, I don’t think we’ll get very far. Now that we know we’re impacted, the question is, how do we move forward? It’s worse to stay in that place and not talking about it. It becomes a perpetual cycle of violence and our overall goal is to break that.”
Jackson said she copes with losing Marcus by taking life one day at a time for her two other children and two grandchildren.
“Marcus wouldn’t want me to stop,” she said. “I can still feel him pushing me.”
The thing Nicole misses the most about her son? His smile.
“His smile was contagious,” she said. “It brought out a light in me.”
While Marcus may have been remembered by his John A. Holmes classmate as a class clown, his teachers respected him, Jackson said.
“He made people laugh. His energy was so refreshing,” she said.
This event will also be a way to share Marcus with future generations, Jackson said.
“Marcus’ son needs something to remind him of his father,” she continued. “He’ll never know his dad, how he held him. We just have photos and recordings. But this will help tell the story of his father.”
She hopes people come to the event with “positive vibes” and come out learning something new.
“I hope, if anything, they get something to put in their toolbox to use. If not specifically for themselves, then to help someone else down the road,” she said. “It’s all about helping each other.”
For those who would like to contribute to the event, contact Jackson through the Marcus Jackson Memorial Tribute page.