Cara Walton and Langston Nicholson Memoriam

Nefsa’Hyatt Brown, Editor-in-Chief

“Let’s not forget that this is a celebration of life for them. So we must celebrate them…celebrate all of the accomplishments that Cara and Langston have achieved in such a short amount of time. Celebrate the lives they have touched,” said the 2019-20 Miss Alabama State University, Jhianne Cooper, explaining the purpose of the Memoriam held for two students in the John Garrick Hardy Center Ballroom on Feb. 17.

The first loss was Langston Nicholson, a freshman who was shot and killed in Mobile, Ala., during a drug deal gone wrong. Authorities have identified two suspects, Dentzes and Warren Burrell, who are currently in custody. As Nicholson was a member of the ACES Program, Wanda Westry, Ph.D., Director of Retention and the ACES Center, said a few words on his behalf.

“I knew that there was something special about this young man, but what I didn’t know was how short his life would be,” said Westry, reminiscing about her first interaction with Nicholson a few weeks prior. “He was an amazing young man.”

“Langston’s death was by the power of decision. He left campus unbeknownst to the family and he made a fateful decision,” she continued explaining to the audience that despite the lapse in judgment that cost him his life, he was not a drug dealer. “He was just like you all, he just wanted to have a good time.”

The second loss was Cara Walton, 22, a graduating senior criminal justice major, who passed away due to natural causes. Walton was a member of many organizations, including the Student Government Association, where she served as an associate justice, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

“I believe that death is just an absence in the body but a presence in the spirit and that is what Cara carried with her,” said Yasmine Whitehurst, a junior physical education major and member of Delta Sigma Theta Soririty, Inc., in reminisce of her sister. “She carried a spirit that was beyond imaginable. She always wanted everyone to feel uplifted. She wanted to be at peace. She fought long…she fought hard. Cara was a great person, a wonderful person. She always wanted everybody to feel loved,” she continued encouraging everyone to be positive at this time. 

Her former professor, Delilah Dotremon, Ph.D., spoke about Walton remembering her as a model Alabama State University student. 

“The loss of Cara Walton is deeply felt in the Hornet nation but her memory will spur us on to be more productive with our lives as Cara set the bar high,” she said. “Her vibrant spirit touched so many lives. Rest in peace Cara.”

Remembering Walton as an advocate for justice and the embodiment of a leader, Joshua Wilkinson, who serves as the current Chief Justice, encouraged the audience to cherish the time they have on this Earth.

“My heart sunk when I heard that Cara had passed,” Wilkinson said. “It saddens me to know that our meeting two Thursdays ago was the last time I’d ever see her. It still doesn’t feel real…but I know you are looking down on us all smiling. I know you would want us all to be happy as we celebrate your life. I know she’s waiting on us above ready to spill some tea.”

Within this time of grief, university president, Quinton Ross Jr., Ed.D, reminded the audience that they were gathered here to celebrate the lives of individuals who were apart of the university family. Ross also praised the student body for the way that they have handled themselves with grace and class charging them with the task of remembering these students and what they meant to our institution as they will “forever be in the hearts and minds of us all.”

Echoing the sentiments of Ross, Jazmyn White, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.’s Beta Eta Chapter President, encouraged the audience to take the time “to love on those who you do and do not know.” 

“…Just because we are all here and we are grieving and we miss our friends and our sisters and brothers, does not mean that we do not have a good purpose,” White continued. “Everyone here has a purpose and a goal. Thank you for what you’ve done, thank you for what you are doing, keep pushing, keep praying because this is not the end.”