St. Mary’s AME Church in Pawleys Island will host a special vigil and prayer service this Saturday to help stop violence in the community. Called “Stop the Male-Against-Male Violence,” the event will begin at 7 p.m. at the church with a vigil outside. Attendees will then move into the church for a motivational speech by Brother Darrell Cumbee from Andrews and singing by The Family and Fellowship Singers, The New Israelites of North Charleston, The Echoes of Faith of Charleston, Women of Strength of Columbia, Little Ricky and The Golden Stars of Bennettsville, and Brother John Duncan and the Singing Stars of Sampit.
Benezena Morant, sister of Antonio Grate, a Waccamaw High School graduate who was murdered in Myrtle Beach in April 2009, is organizing the event. She has organized three-day events each anniversary of her brother’s death to raise funds for the Antonio Grate Scholarship Fund. This year, she said the event will support the scholarship fund, but it will also help stop the male-against-maile violence in the community exemplified by two recent killings unrelated to her brother’s.
James Earl “Scoopy” Richardson Jr., 18, of Pawleys Island was found shot to death at the corner of Parkersville Road and Julian Rutledge Drive in May and Sean Edwards, 21, of Connecticut was found at Club Isis in Pawleys Island in August.
“The tragedy and feeling in the families is the same; families looking for answers,” Morant said. “The community needs to come together to show support for families going through the same things we are.”
She said she also wants to bring community awareness so these recent crimes can be solved with those responsible brought to justice.
“There are people out there who know what happened, but because of ‘street cred’ they won’t talk. Those people need to come forward because it is the right thing to do.”
For more information, call Benezena Morant at 843-240-8738.
By Clayton Stairs
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