LITTLE ROCK, Ar. — Arkansas Baptist College is honoring one of their own, who was killed 9 years ago this week.
Derek Olivier’s life was cut short when he was shot and killed in 2012.
Wednesday more than 50 people came together for the college’s annual Derek-O Week.
Wednesday is Olivier’s birthday, he would’ve been 29-years-old. Arkansas Baptist College is using this second annual week of events to remember him but to also work to make sure other young African American men aren’t victims of homicides.
9 years later and students, staff and friends are still honoring Olivier.
“He always seemed so cool, he didn’t bother anybody,” Arkansas Baptist College Alumni, La Voyce Reaves said.
Olivier was a football player at the college when he was shot and killed in 2012. It happened not far from campus while he was helping someone change a tire.
In 2020- the campus founded a research institute in his honor, the Derek Olivier Research Institute (DORI) for the Prevention of Violence.
“We’re looking at what are these major factors as it relates to African American male homicides,” Director of DORI for the Prevention of Violence at Arkansas Baptist College, Edmond Davis said. “That’s what the Derek-O week has been about that’s what Derek Olivier’s legacy been about since he’s been killed.”
Davis said they track, collect, and analyze data trends on violence in Central Arkansas and even share their work with people across the country.
This week, during the anniversary of his death the campus is hosting events in hopes of helping end gun violence.
“We want to provide solutions,” Davis said. “We want to provide other outlets for them to address certain social issues.”
Wednesday, the college hosted a panel discussion with local activists, mentors, pastors and former law enforcement agencies.
“I am very proud of the hard work that I do see them put in, the sweat the tears, the tireless nights making sure that justice is served for Derek,” Reaves said.
This was a safe place for students and people in the community to have tough conversations.
“It’s about providing hope, it’s about providing an outlet, it’s about seeking solutions,” Davis said. No arrests have been made in this case. The institute plans to continue this tradition every year. Another event is scheduled for Thursday morning.