Greek letters lined the outdoor seats of Little Rock AME Zion Church’s cultural center as alumni of fraternities and sororities gathered Wednesday to hold a vigil for Bianca Tanner and raise awareness of domestic violence.
Tanner, 31, was killed last month. Her body was found last week in a wooded area in southwest Charlotte. Her boyfriend, 30-year-old Angelo Smith Jr., has been charged with her murder.
Tanner’s 3-year-old son told investigators Smith had struck Tanner with a belt and “hurt Mommy in the face,” according to a search warrant.
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Undeterred by the rain, Tanner’s sister Cerise Richardson led the group in a candle lighting ceremony.
“You never think that it could happen to you,” she said.
Richardson said she met Smith several times and had reservations about him but never confronted her sister.
“No one deserves to be treated the way she was treated,” Richardson said. “She loved to laugh; she loved to sing, and she loved to dance. Now she leaves behind a 3-year-old son that we have to talk to every day and remind him who his mother was.”
Greeks Against Domestic Violence hosted Wednesday’s vigil. The group was started in reaction to Tanner’s death by three alumni of N.C. A&T State University fraternities.
Both Tanner and Smith attended N.C. A&T in Greensboro. Smith was wearing a T-shirt with Kappa Alpha Psi letters when he was arrested.
Marcus Bass, one of the three organizers of the vigil and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, said Smith is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi.
“We want to be sure that people recognize that three letters on a shirt do not represent an entire organization,” Bass said.