HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – It was an emotional afternoon for the Alabama A&M cheerleaders. On July 28, Chi McDade was murdered in a domestic violence incident.
On Sunday afternoon, managers and coaches decided to use this tragedy as a teaching moment.
“I literally met her a week before she passed. I met her that day, she was my line sister’s best friend and I had no idea. She seemed very happy,” said Alabama A&M cheerleader Jordyn Johnson. “Very healthy person and it’s just sad.”
Their meeting served as an unofficial orientation for all rookie cheerleaders on the team. There were explanations of how toxic relationships can manifest.
“This seminar taught me to be that boring friend, to be that friend to check on your friends, your strong friends too,” said cheerleader Nia Pitts. “Simply because they smile all the time, or even when they’re distant. Check them out.
Chi McDade’s murder taught these young women to be aware of the signs and even to be more introspective in their own lives.
“I’ve been thinking about other people, but I’m mostly thinking about thinking about situations I’ve been in or maybe I’ve done it without really knowing it,” Judge said. Murphy, another cheerleader on the team. “Really self-reflection and reflection on how I now avoid these situations and get to know myself.”
Cheerleading coach Rasheba McGowan says she is touched by the openness and honesty of young women as she continues to develop a nurturing environment in which they can grow.
“Having a forum to talk about it actually allows people who may have heard of it, but haven’t thought about it, to take the time to do so. Chi had conversations with his mother, with his grandparents -parents. So she did the right thing and it’s still unfortunate what happened. But we want to encourage people around us to understand what these signs are.”
McGowan concluded by saying that no matter what, as a team and organization, there will be people available to help and support students in the Bulldog community.
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