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Jackson State Establishes Relationship Violence Forum

Jackson State University officials announced an annual symposium that will focus on relationship violence, as a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,500 people packed the Rose Embly McCoy Auditorium to celebrate the life of Latasha Norman.

The university also is establishing an abuse prevention fund to support a newly created counseling center at Jackson State that will now bear Norman’s name.

“Latasha’s death was the consequence of a social ill in this country: relationship violence. We should not let her experience be in vain,” said President Ronald Mason Jr., who described the 20-year-old student as an intelligent woman with a promise-filled life.

“For our part, we have established the Latasha Norman Abuse Prevention Fund to support what will now be called the Latasha Norman Center for Social and Clinical Counseling at Jackson State University,” Mason added.

Norman, a junior accounting major from Greenville, Miss., disappeared on Nov. 13. Sixteen days later – after two prayer vigils and national media attention – her body was found in a wooded area of north Jackson. Her former boyfriend, Stanley Cole, 24, has been charged with her murder.

“Domestic violence is a very real problem among African-American women. Our young ladies must be taught to recognize the acts of violence as well as acts that lead to more violence,” College of Business Dean Glenda Glover said later. “The College of Business will address this issue from the economy and legal aspects, and this will be a collaborative effort with related disciplines on campus.”

In addition, the Latasha Norman Abuse Prevention Fund will support what will now be called the Latasha Norman Center for Social and Clinical Counseling at Jackson State. The counseling center, which was created in September, is located in the Office of the Dean of Student Life. Mason took a hard stance against relationship violence, urging men who feel a need to hit women to stop and get help now and insisting that women in abusive relationships get out.

“Promise me – no, promise yourself – that you will not put up with being treated like anything less than the beautiful person that you are,” Mason told the women at the memorial service.

Senior graphics design major Darryl Anderson of Gary, Ind., attended the prayer vigil and memorial service. “It was nice seeing all the students coming together whether they knew her or not,” he said.

“If any females are dealing with abuse, they should try and get help. There is no reason for innocent lives being taken by foolishness,” Anderson added.

At the end of the service, Latasha’s uncle, Freddy Norman, a photographer and graphic artist at Jackson State, thanked everyone for their prayers and support, adding, “We have 20 years of beautiful memories of Tasha that we will forever treasure.”

–Black College Wire

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