People around the country are mourning the suicide of MarShawn McCarrel II, an Ohio-based #BlackLivesMatter activist. The 23-year-old McCarrel died Monday (February 8) of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the entrance to the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
Fusion reports that McCarrel left a cryptic message on his Facebook page (which has, expectedly, become a memorial to McCarrel and his activist work) reading, “My demons won today. I’m sorry.” He also posted several tweets, including ones that read “Let the record show that I pissed on the state house before i left.” and ”If we don’t have to live through hell just to get to heaven. I’ma stay right here with you.”
McCarrel was the founder of Pursuing Our Dreams, a youth mentorship program that also launched the anti-homelessness initiative Feed the Streets. McCarrel was homeless for several months after graduating high school. As he describes in a 2014 interview with 614Columbus.com, he entered youth activism because he ”wanted to do something that was youth-led, something that shows leadership and shows people that we’re here, we care, and we know.” McCarrel was also active in organizing local youth to protest police brutality after the 2014 killing of Mike Brown.
Pursuing Our Dreams also noted that McCarrel attended the NAACP Image Awards on Friday (February 5), where he received the Hometown Champion Award for his work in Columbus.
We remember McCarrel with the following poem of his, entitled “Down South.”
This is MarShawn McCarrel’s poem “Down South”
— Hanif Abdurraqib (@NifMuhammad) February 9, 2016