MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis mother is turning her pain into purpose by investing in local youth following the death of her son.
Golfers were teeing up at the Links of Pine Hill golf course in South Memphis Saturday morning. However, they weren’t just playing for the love of the sport.
They were also playing to benefit the Cameron William Selmon Scholarship.
Cameron was shot and killed in 2015 after a fight broke out on the campus of Tennessee State University.
Almost eight years later, his mother, Stacie Payne, is still looking for justice since no arrests have been made in her son’s death. Nonetheless, she says she’s turned her pain into purpose.
“Because Cameron couldn’t fulfill his dreams, our goal is to help our youth fulfill their dreams,” said Payne. “You never get over it but you learn to live through it. So, this is how we’re living through it with family and friends helping us to help others.”
Payne started the nonprofit Justice for Cameron Incorporated shortly after his death and has since awarded more than $38,000 in scholarships to students across Shelby County.
“We have to help our youth. We have to help them understand that they need to silence the violence, and if we can just touch one person, then Cameron didn’t die in vain,” said Payne.
For four years, Payne says the Golf Classic has assisted her in helping local youth redirect from a path of violence to a path of success.
“It means so much to hear from them that they appreciate our efforts to help them,” said Payne.
But, she says she wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of local sponsors such as the Watsons who say Cameron was like a second son to them.
“He had a kind heart. As a matter of fact, Cameron had a big heart. We wanted to give back. We wanted to give back to the youth of the city and we wanted to do it in Cameron’s name,” said Kenneth Watson.