The mother of a Black man killed in July is working to set up a scholarship in his honor at Central Carolina Community College.
The Jason Arnold Black Lives Matter Scholarship is in honor of Sharon Johnson’s 45-year-old son, gunned down July 5 on Crestview Street in Sanford.
“He liked to help people and I feel like he would appreciate that he’s helping someone else,” Johnson said.
“He knew that education meant a lot to people and it meant a lot to me.”
The goal is to raise $10,000 to create an endowment, according to Emily Hare, executive director of the CCCC Foundation, which is overseeing the private donations for the fund.
“We believe education is the way to help improve a community and that’s what (Sharon) wants to do,” Hare said.
Jason Arnold, one of twin brothers, was pursuing a career in the hospitality industry and was working as an Airbnb host at the time of his death.
Johnson said she chose the name of the scholarship to show young Black men they are important and there is promise for them.
Her son was not killed by law enforcement or a stranger, she said, but by someone he knew. Franklin Deon Dorsett, 35, is charged with first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in the slaying.
The number of Black men killed by gun violence continues to remain high, she said, and it’s time to take action.
Johnson hopes that the first Black Lives Matter Scholarship can be a catalyst for change and that deserving young Black men can pursue an education with the help of the funds.
The pain of Jason’s death is still fresh for Johnson and his sister, Helen Jones, especially during the holidays.
“Although Jason is no longer here, the scholarship will be a wonderful memory for his children and might steer some young man in the right direction. A pathway to an education rather than a pathway to a burial ground,” Margaret Murchison, a Foundation board member, wrote in a news release.
Donations in Jason’s memory can be made to the Central Carolina Community College Foundation. Go to cccc.edu/foundation/giving for more information.