Darryl Hunt scholarship will help convicts further their education
Photo by Tevin Stinson
BY TEVIN STINSON
In 1984, Darryl Hunt was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder. While maintaining his innocence, Hunt would spend nearly two decades behind bars.
After his exoneration in 2004, Hunt became a voice for the voiceless , speaking out against injustice of all kinds. He was also instrumental in helping former inmates re-enter society.
The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has started a$100,000 scholarship fund to honor the life and legacy of Darryl Eugene Hunt.
Starting next year, the Darryl Hunt Memorial Scholarship will provide scholarships to individuals in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County who have been convicted of a criminal offense and served time in prison. The $1,000 award will be renewable for up to three years and will be applied to the students’ cost of tuition.
During a press conference held at the historic Emmanuel Baptist Church, Z. Smith Reynolds Program Director James Gore said the scholarship was created to break down barriers that prevent young people from obtaining degrees because of a simple mistake.
In North Carolina, anyone over the age of 16 is tried as an adult. A conviction on a young adult’s record can lead to the loss of eligibility for financial aid.
“Education is one of the most powerful tools to help people who have made a mistake not repeat that mistake,” said Gore. “We hope the recipients of these scholarships use these funds to acquire a trade at a community college, further his or her education at the undergraduate level, or even pursue a law or medical degree.”
Exactly one year to the day that his close friend was found unresponsive in the 2800 block of University Parkway, Winston-Salem State University professor Larry Little said Hunt was the most forgiving person he had ever met. He said Hunt’s legacy to forgive and help others will live on through the scholarship.
“This allows Darryl to do some good on earth today. I am just happy to know that he can help someone else get an education,” said Little. “I’m sure our brother is smiling down from heaven on us.”
Executive director of the Conservatives for Criminal Justice Reform, Tarrah Callahan, said, “Darryl would always say education was the key to open opportunity and breaking the cycle of incarceration.
“When ZSR approached me with this idea, I knew in my heart it was the perfect recognition for Darryl’s legacy,” she continued. “Not only will this scholarship provide financial support but with those funds comes the memory of Darryl, the knowledge that he believed in you and that he would have wanted better for you.”