“This is bittersweet, such an honor. Such an honor.”
So said the mother of murdered Riverhead High School grad Demitri Hampton, who was a Suffolk County Community College student when he was shot and killed at the end of January inside his Flanders home during a break-in. He would have been 22.
Juanita Trent as well as Hampton’s siblings, some friends and members of the Black Male Network gathered at the Riverhead campus today – Demitri’s birthday – to dedicate a pair of lasting memorials to him in front of the popular Peconic Building.
Frances Acevedo, 22, of Mastic, now a student at St. Joseph’s College, had initiated the dedication plan by asking school officials to give Mr. Hampton an honorary degree, however after speaking with administration, it was determined that creating a lasting impression would be a better route.
In addition to a bench with a plaque – facing the field where Mr. Hampton enjoyed playing flag football in the fall – the group had planted a Magnolia tree to memorialize the beautify of a life lost too soon.
“We celebrate the space and time between his birth and his passing,” said Prof. James Banks, college-wide coordinator of multi-cultural affairs and founder of the Black Male Network. “The senseless endings of African American lives must not go unnoticed. Acknowledge the tragic loss of our loved one, friend and student.”
Those in attendance on Friday donned t-shirts with a stylistic graphic black and white design of him sporting a red bow tie on the front and on the back the slogan ‘D.Q.H. 9/20/91-1/27/13 Forever in Our Hearts.’
No arrests have been made in relation to Hampton’s death.