LAURINBURG — Typically Zumba raises money and awareness for diseases such as cancer, but on Saturday there will be a Zumba-thon to raise awareness for an entirely different reason.
The “Stop the Violence Zumba-thon” has a goal of honoring victims and survivors of gun violence as well as educating about the topic. The event will be at the National Guard Armory in Laurinburg from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.
The even will be hosted by Michelle Ellerbe and Onequa Crump, both of whom are licensed Zumba instructors who have weekly classes at the Armory.
“Zumba is big for raising money for different causes and awareness and we thought it would be a good way bring awareness,” Ellerbe said. “We want to be able to bring different people together to make them aware of what’s going on.”
From her research, Ellerbe found that gun violence is an epidemic that kills 33,000 people in this country every year, and takes 90 lives every single day. Not only does she believe it’s something important to talk about across the country, but is especially needed in Scotland County where more than 15 people have lost their lives due to gun violence in the past two years.
“It’s staggering the amount of young people who have been killed in Scotland County,” Ellerbe said. “We need to show that a gun is not a way out of it if you have an issue with someone.”
The Zumba-thon will offer a break in the middle, which will allow for not only for snacks and refreshments, but also a presentation.
From the proceeds, 50 percent will benefit the daughter of a recent victim of gun violence as a scholarship. Derrick Dent, 42, was killed after 21-year old Trejon Monley shot and killed him on July 18. Ellerbe heard Dent’s daughter, Imani, speak at his funeral.
“I saw how strong she was at the funeral,” Ellerbe said. “And we wanted to give her something to help encourage through college.”
Dent is a senior at Fayetteville State University.
The Zumba-thon will have five instructors — Karen McNair, Patricia Murphy, Devon Murphy, Tony Murphy, Kenya Drake and Venieca White — who teach different varieties of Zumba.
The registration fee is $10 and, for early registration, contact Michelle Ellerbe at 910-544-8343.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]