Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thanks for Helping Skye

On tomorrow, Friday, April 11, 2002, Skye Lee will be put to rest. Skye, an 18-year old student at Northern High School, was killed while her 10-month old child was nearby. Cory Anthony Jiggets, 19, has been charged in connection with the slaying. Jiggets is the father of Skye’s child.
Late last week I sent out a plea for people to donate money to pay for the funeral cost. I was moved after a conversation with Nicole Lee, Skye’s mother. I promised her we would find a way to pay for the funeral. This was an occasion that called for people to support this grieving family.

It helped that Pamela Burthey at Burthey Funeral Services was willing to chip in. She discounted the funeral to make it easier on the family. This was no gimmick. She wanted to do the right thing for all the right reasons. It was up to those with compassion to do more than talk that talk.
As of yesterday, close to $3,000 has been raised above the cost of the funeral. Money keeps coming in, and that money will be used to set up a trust account for Skye’s child. People have been moved by this tragedy. Children have raised money. People have walked in with $5 checks. A convenience store on Old Oxford Highway set out a jar for people to donate their change. The money keeps coming in, and it will all go to a worthy cause.

I’m told that some people aren’t thrilled that the community is pitching in to help a needy family. Sure, there’s the Victim’s Assistance program that helps people in situations such as these. Burthey has received calls from people angry that black folks, once again, are begging for help. I was hoping that a few of the other funeral homes would offer support, but the phone never rang with an offer. This was an opportunity for people to come together to make a statement.

What is that statement? That we, the caring community of Durham, will not allow for families to grieve alone. When one of our young dies we will come together. We did it for Eve over in Chapel Hill, and we will do the same for Skye in Durham.

So, thanks to everyone who responded to my appeal. You can continue to give money for that trust fund. Love has a way of changing things. Something good can come out of something bad.
This is why I love Durham so much.


  1. It's important for the community to come together and provide support. A lack of cohesion and an absence of support in general stands at the foundation of many of the issues the community faces. When more of us take responsiblity for our young people we can stop burying them or watching them being incarcerated. It truly takes a village...

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