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.