Jasmine Lynn remembered as exceptional student

Jasmine’s Lynn’s family came together in Sister’s Chapel on Spelman’s College campus Tuesday.

Not only her mother and father but her classmates from Spelman as well as some students from Clark Atlanta and Morehouse colleges filled the crowded sanctuary for the memorial service for the Kansas City, Mo., woman. The 19-year-old sophomore was the first in her family to attend college until killed by a stray bullet while walking across Clark Atlanta’s campus last week.

She died with a 3.8 grade-point average.

Clark Atlanta President Carlton E. Brown told the crowd that Lynn was an exceptional and irreplaceable student who had deserved to be safe on his campus. Both he and Spelman President Beverly Daniel Tatum said the killing had reinvigorated talk among them and Morehouse College about the need to improve security in their academic havens, which bump up against crime-infested neighborhoods.

“This event has dominated every conversation of every group of leaders of this community and beyond,” Brown said. “It is a clarion call that the world is a very dangerous place.”

The memorial service was preceded by a gathering at the intersection of James P. Brawley Drive and Mitchell Street that pass through the Clark Atlanta campus where Lynn was killed. The New Black Panthers Party For Self Defense Atlanta chapter tried to kick off the event but almost immediately lost the microphone to Spelman’s chaplain, The Rev. Lisa D. Rhodes.

“We must stand up and give voice to the violence that permeates our community,” Rhodes said.

Some young men in the crowd wore T-shirts that emphasized the community ties between the neighborhood and the college with the slogan “Brotherhood, Sisterhood, Livelihood, Neighborhood,” which accentuated the dilemma facing the colleges of how best to protect their young people while at the same time being part of the greater community.

Brown and Tatum repeatedly touched on the security issue during the service. Atlanta police, who questioned a “person of interest” but have not announced any arrests. Students said Lynn was shot after a fight erupted between students and some non-students who were hanging around the campus. She died near student housing and the Atlanta University Center library. Ramshackle housing starts to dominate the neighborhood a block away.

“We know we cannot control everything that happens in the lives of our students but we need to do everything in our power to restore a sense of security,” Tatum told the sanctuary.