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Cheerleaders from across the state
honor peer who was killed
#CheerForYona videos spread
after death of former Shaw
BY TEVLN STINSON
The past two weeks have been a emotional roller
coaster for Shaw University in Raleigh. Less than 24
hours after celebrating the start of the 2013 football sea
son. the University was shook by the death of former
cheerieading captain Keyona Verdell
Verdell was from Winston-Salem and attended high
school at Atkins High School, where she was a chocr
't, rt leader for four years. She was a third-year student at Shaw
and was studying business administration and manage
According to the News & Observer, Verdell was struck
and killed by a vehicle Sunday morning. Sept. 6. on New
Hope Church Road in Raleigh.
Friends of Verdell recall her as a great friend who had
a great sense of humor and loved to cheer. Tia Long, head
cheerleading coach at Shaw University, said Keyona was
a great cheerleader who always had a smile on her face.
"Keyona was just a joy to be around," said Long. "She
was a great cheerleader,
always coming up with the
most difficult cheers "
In honor of Verdell,
#CheerforYona videos start
ed to spread across social
media platforms like wildfire.
Cheerleaders from across the
state, high school and college
started posting videos of
themselves performing cheers
dedicated to their fallen
Cheer squads from Shaw.
North Carolina Central
Mate university and a number ot other HBCUs posted
videos onto the Web.
In less than two days, over 150 videos had been posted
on Instagram. Even non-cheerleaders got into the
#CheerFbrYona movement, posting videos of their own
made up cheer routines.
As of Monday, Sept. 14, #CheerForYona had accumu
lated over 250 videos and over 5JOOO likes on Instagram
A memorial pep rally was held on the campus of Shaw
University on Thursday, Sept. 10. Current and former stu
dents filed into the gym to show their love and support to
the Verdell family.
According to Long, the squad has decided to dedicate
the season to Verdell, which means they're going to cheei
harder than ever.
"They decided they wanted to dedicate the season tc
her, so 1 know they're going to come hard."
Friends of Keyona here in Winston-Salem said Verdell
was the type of person who got along with everybody. A
number of posts left on her Facebook page shows how
much she was loved throughout the city.
Rosie Verdell, Keyona's mother, said her daughter was
an angel in disguise.
"Keyona was a real angel in disguise who got along
with everybody. She really touched a lot of people."
Although her daughter has passed on, Rosie Verdell
and her family are currently discussing starting a scholar
ship program in Keyona's honor. The scholarship will
likely go to a young lady who is an active cheerleader in
Keyona's older brother Xavier Rivers said his sister
was serious about cheering, so the scholarship would like
ly go to someone who wants to cheer at the college level.
"When it came to cheering, my sister didn't play," said
Rivers. "She really loved being out there, so we wanted to
do something that shows that side of her."
Bernie Sanders visits Greensboro, talks campaign
voters rights and minimum wage
BY MAY EES A MITCHELL
FOR THE CHRONICLE
Among the 9j000 attendees at presi
dential candidate Bemie Sanders' rally at
the Greensboro Coliseum on Sunday, Sept.
13 were many residents of Forsyth County.
Some had the intention of learning more
ahnnr fhp ranHiHafp
and others wanted to
show support for the
candidate they have
already declared their
third vice chair of the
Democratic Party and
treasurer of Young
Democrats of Forsyth
County, was one of
the Forsyth County
ICMUCIH& wnu (UlCDUCU.
"I haven't seen that many young peo
ple [at a rally] since Obama's first election
in 2008," said Harmon.
According to Harmon, the crowd was
youthful and eclectic, ranging from high
school students to senior citizens and peo
ple with young children. Overall, he
described the crowd as young, loud and
Sanders' 70-minute speech covered a
broad range of topics including: income
inequality, unemployment, minimum
wage, paid family leave, the Voting Rights
Act, college tuition, immigration reform,
institutional racism and police reform.
He took a clear stance on these issues,
stating that every public college and uni
versity should be free of cost, the federal
minimum wage needs to be increased to
$15 an hour and that there needs to be
major reform in "a very broken criminal
Sanders openly criticized Republican
for changing the
voting laws after
the U.S. Supreme
a potion of the
Rights Act in
"Hours after that
decision, you had
across this country figuring out ways as to
how they could suppress the vote of poof
people, old people, people of color."
Although Sanders is still seeking the
black vote, many polls suggest that he is
beginning to dominate the millennial vote.
Harmon believes this is because
Sanders "is addressing issues that millen
nials are most concerned about in a person
al and honest way."
Sanders ended his speech by stating,
"When we stand together there is nothing
we cannot accomplish, but we cannot
accomplish any of that unless people get
involved with the political process." ,
"I haven't seen that
many young people [at
a rally] since Obama's
first election in 2008."
Phi Beta Sigma building to
serve as national headquarters
for Million Man March
Washington, D.C . ? In a move sym
bolic of its commitment of service to
humanity, the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity
Inc. International president, Jonathan A.
Mason, Sr. turned over the keys to office
space in the community service organiza
tion's headquarters to Dr. Benjamin F.
Chavis Jr. to serve as the National
Mobilization Headquarters for the 20th
Anniversary Million Man March.
On Oct. 10, in Washington, D.C., at the
National Mall, the Honorable Minister
Louis Farrakhan will convene the 20th
Anniversary of the Million Man March
under the theme: "Justice or Else!"
In 1995, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity's
international corporate offices served as
the official headquarters for the inaugural
Million Man March, which Famtkhan also
Twenty years later, Chavis, a member
of Phi Beta Sigma, is returning to 145 NW
Kennedy St., Washington D.C., to assist
with organizing the historic gathering. He
is president and CEO of the National
Newspaper Publishers Association.
Scheduled to take place on Saturday,
Oct. 10. "Justice or Else!" The 20th
Anniversary Million Man March will
focus on justice for individuals of every
"We are once again proud to announce
our commitment to the Million Man
March. Twenty years ago. Phi Beta Sigma
Fraternity Inc. stepped forward and
offered our headquarters as the staging
location for the historic march." Mason
saidi- "Today, we celebrate the march's
milestones and reinforce our "I Am My
Brother's Keeper" initiative, as we whole
heai^edly support the Million Man March
20 years later."
Since celebrating its centennial in Jan.
2014, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity has paid
homage to its founders by leading the
charge on several national issues.
The service-based fraternity has been a
leader in eradicating hazing among frater
nities and sororities; participated in the
National Day of Protest in wake of the sus
picious killings of young African
American males; hosted a prayer vigil and
youth summit in Ferguson, Missouri, in
response to the Michael Brown killing;
issued a statement supporting racial toler
ance in the aftermath of the senseless
killing of nine congregants at Emanuel
A.M.E. Church in Charlestown, South
Carolina; and hosted "Real Talk," a panel
discussion that featured some of the
nation's top thought-leaders on the topic
of securing the future for the next genera
tion of boys and men of color.
"20 years ago. Phi Beta Sigma
Fraternity Inc. made the historic decision
to provide its headquarters building on
Kennedy Street NW in Washington, DC as
the national office of the Million Man
March We are once again grateful to Phi
Beta Sigma Fraternity for continuing its
national leadership role by providing their
resolute support of the 20th Anniversary ?
of the Million Man March. The best way
to celebrate Black history is to make more
history," Chavis said.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., found
ed on Jan. 9, 1914 at Howard University,
is a global organization with over 450
chapters and 150000 members.
To learn more, visit www.phibetasig
For more information about the
Million Man March go to www.justiceo
Photo submitted by Treal Harmon
Bernie Sanders walks to the podium at the Greensboro Coliseum on Sunday,
The Winston-Salem Local Organizing Committee is planning bus
transportation to the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March
on Oct. 10.
For bus information visit www.wsjoe.com or contact Akil Razzak
at 336-817-3958 or Dana Muhammad at 336-354-8278.
You may also purchase tickets at Nation's Discount Store, 805
Akron Drive, Winston-Salem Monday through Friday, 4-6 p.m.
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