Alabama A&M hosts domestic violence forum in the wake of Chi McDade murder

WAFF's D'Quan Lee reporting
Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It was an emotional afternoon for cheerleaders at Alabama A&M. On July 28th, Chi McDade was murdered in a domestic violence incident.

Sunday afternoon, leaders and coaches decided to use that tragedy as a teaching moment.

“I literally met her a week before she passed. I met her that day, she was my line sister’s best friend and I had no idea at all. She seemed very happy,” said Alabama A&M cheerleader Jordyn Johnson. “Very wholesome person and it’s just sad.”

Their meeting served as an unofficial orientation for all the rookie cheerleaders on the squad. There were explanations of how toxic relationships can manifest.

“This seminar taught me to be that annoying friend, be that friend to check up on your friends, your strong friends as well,” said fellow cheerleader Nia Pitts. “Just because they’re smiling all the time, or even when they’re distant. Check up on them.”

Chi McDade’s murder taught these young ladies to be aware of the signs, and even to be more introspective into their own lives.

“I did think about other people, but mostly I think self-reflect in situations that I’ve been in or maybe I’ve been the one doing that and not really knowing it,” said Justice Murphy, another cheerleader with the team. “Really, self-reflection and thinking about how from now on I avoid those situations and getting to know myself.”

Cheerleading Coach Rasheba McGowan says she’s touched by how open and honest the young ladies were as she continues to develop a nurturing environment for them to grow into.

“Having a forum to talk about it actually allows people who might have heard about it, but not reflected on it to take time to do that. Chi had conversations with her mom, with her grandparents. So she did the right thing and it’s unfortunate still what happened. But we want to encourage people who are surrounded around us to understand what those signs are.”

McGowan closed by saying no matter what, as a team and an organization, there will be people available to assist and support the students in the Bulldog community.

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