FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mario Boone
ATLANTA (Jan. 3, 2017) When Eric Wilson fled the deadly gun violence plaguing the streets of Chicago, the Clark Atlanta University freshman left behind four of the most important people in his life. Yet, even as Eric, 19, packed his bags to journey hundreds of miles away from his roots at 69th St. and Western, he promised his mother, Veronica Comey, and his three sisters he would use his CAU degree to come home and rescue them. This life altering decision made the social media guru and mass media arts major the first in his family ever to attend college.
At the innocent age of four, Eric’s father was shot to death. That left him with no dad to guide him through life’s challenges, especially as a black boy in America. Still, Eric didn’t give up.
“It was a lot of opportunities I missed out on growing up without a dad, like being able to play football at the park with him,” said Eric, who would go on to play basketball and football at Kenwood Academy High School. He said the tragedy also robbed him of his childhood. “I had to become the man of the house at a young age, and I had to step up and take care of my three younger sisters,” he explained. But his father’s death helped him adopt a life of nonviolence, opting to use his words rather than his fists to squash schoolyard beefs.
His walks to and from the school bus stop everyday were littered with wrong turns that could have led him down any number of dangerous paths life steers at impressionable children. There was the dope pusher on just about every corner. Addicts slumped over door stoops and gangs. Yet he stayed focused. “I always knew that education was going to pull me out of this,” Eric said, with a smile you’d hardly expect from someone who has endured the pain he has. “I used the bad things I saw growing up in my neighborhood as motivation to be successful and come back to help my family.”
Then in the summer of 2016, just a few months before he departed for Clark Atlanta, Eric’s 15-year-old brother, Davearhea Wilson, was shot dead on the front steps of his own home. He went from sadness to guilt because he made it out, but his little brother did not. “I feel like I’m living for my brother,” he said, while still flashing his signature ear-to-ear smile.
While his road to CAU has been plagued with murdered relatives, childhood mistakes and hard knocks, Eric credits his mom with getting him to this place in life.
“The mission is complete for him to get to Clark Atlanta,” Comey said. “But he is still a work in progress because he still has to develop himself into a successful man.”Category: Students
Keywords: Eric Wilson