Family, friends honor LeGrier, Graves at memorial


Quintonio LeGrier’s mother Janet Cooksey thanks everyone who was in attendance for the memorial honoring deceased former NIU students Quintonio LeGrier and Joseph Graves.

By Leah Nicolini

The Black Student Union held a memorial where 120 friends and family of former NIU students Quintonio LeGrier and Joseph Graves shared memories Wednesday in the Holmes Student Center, Sky Room.

LeGrier, 19, was shot six times by a Chicago police officer who was responding to a 911 dispatch call of domestic disturbance on Dec. 26, according to a Jan. 14 Northern Star article.

Former NIU student Graves, 19, was found dead with a bullet wound to the back of his head in Chicago’s south side, according to a Dec. 14 Northern Star article.

In attendance was LeGrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, who wore a “We want justice for Quintonio” T-shirt. Members of Delta Sigma Theta and Black Male Initiative also attended the event. LeGrier was a former member of the Black Male Initiative.

During the memorial, a slideshow with pictures of LeGrier and Graves was shown to the audience.

“Going through the orientation process [of Black Male Initiative], we ask you a question,” said Jacob Clayton, Black Male Initiative president. “So I walked up to [LeGrier] and said ‘What position do you see yourself holding?’ [LeGrier] looked me dead in my eyes and said ‘president’… . He was starting to take himself serious.”

Noah Baker, junior elementary education and teaching major, said he recalled when he first met Graves.

“He was like my little brother,” Baker said. “Being my roommate he taught me different things. He taught me how to play spades. He taught me a lot about patience. Overall, he was a blessing to my life.”

After the event, Anthony Williams II, vice president of the Black Student Union, led a prayer and balloon release in the Martin Luther King Jr. Commons in memory of the deceased students and anyone else who died as a result of gun violence.