As part of the reporting and fieldwork for my short documentary film, I attend vigils and remembrance ceremonies for homicide victims in Durham.
Last September, I attended a prayer vigil for Rayshawn Cotton, 29. He was driving on Holloway Street in Durham on March 8, 2010, when he was shot. His car crashed into a tree, and he died two days later at Duke University Hospital.
Cotton’s homicide, one of 25 murders in Durham in 2010, remains unsolved, according to his mother, Betty Cotton, whom I spoke with briefly this morning.
“I take one day at a time,” she said.
The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham hosted the prayer vigil for Rayshawn Cotton, his family and friends on Sept. 18, 2010, on Hinson Drive in Durham.
The Religious Coalition hosts prayer vigils after homicides “to honor and publicly recognize the human worthiness of the victim, to comfort family and friends,” and “to sanctify and bring healing to the site where the violence occurred,” according to the group’s website.
Since 1997, the Religious Coalition has conducted more than 200 vigils.
In today’s outtake, a local pastor leads prayer and song before family and friends of Cotton release red balloons in Cotton's memory. Anyone with information about the homicide case is asked to call Durham CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200.