Three months after Shanquella Robinson died under suspicious circumstances while vacationing with acquaintances in Mexico, many questions remain.
Last November, the authorities in Mexico issued an arrest warrant for an unnamed “aggressor” in Robinson’s death, but no arrest has been announced.
To push for faster results, Million Youth March of Charlotte and Salisbury, a nonprofit group that seeks to end community violence, is partnering with Robinson’s family to launch a letter-writing campaign.
Mario Black, the group’s director, said the goal is to mail at least 1,000 letters to Mexican authorities to establish a sense of urgency in the case.
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“The significance of it is to put pressure on Mexico, because they’re not owning up to their responsibility and executing the warrants of the Cabo Six,” Black told QCity Metro, referring to the six acquaintance who were in the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas where Robinson died. “We hope by doing this it will ignite someone there to push a little harder.”
Participants in the letter-writing campaign will meet at Little Rock AME Zion Church at noon on Feb. 18, then march to the U.S. post office on 201 N. McDowell St.
Robinson, 25, made national headlines after she died on October 29 in the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas, where she went with six friends the previous day.
In interviews with several news outlets, Robinson’s parents said others on the trip blamed alcohol poisoning for their daughter’s death. An autopsy report listed the cause of death as “severe spinal cord injury and atlas dislocation” or upper vertebral instability.
On November 16, a video surfaced on social media, which has since gone viral, showing a what appears to be a women attacking Robinson.
QCity Metro is currently unable to verify when or where the video in question was recorded.
To date, authorities have not confirmed whether fatal injuries occurred in the video incident.
Mario Black said he speaks with the family on a weekly basis. He said the family has coped with her death “as well as expected” throughout the holidays.
They held a balloon release at her gravesite on Jan.9 to celebrate what would have been Robinson’s 26th birthday.
According to published reports, the FBI is conducting a separate investigation from Mexican authorities. Black said both agencies have failed to provide updates to the family.
QCity Metro reached out to the FBI for comment, but no one responded to our emails.
QCity Metro also requested to speak with Robinson’s family members, but they, too, did not respond to our requests.
“Three months without answers is entirely too long for a family that has already been through enough tragedy,” Black said.
In December, Black, alongside other community activists and leaders, hosted a peaceful rally at Little Rock AME Zion Church. Nearly 200 people attended.
The Rev. Dwayne Walker, pastor of Little Rock AME Zion, said his church has hosted a number of social justice rallies, dating back to the death of Keith Lamont Scott in 2016.
Robinson’s death, he said, affected him a little more. Walker is the father of four daughters who are around the same age as Robinson.
“I can only imagine the pain they must be going through,” he told QCity Metro. “Anything that I can do as pastor, anything we could do as a church, we’re gonna make ourselves available to them.”
It’s important for Black churches to take the forefront of social injustice issues similar to Robinson’s case, Walker said. He plans to stand by the family in their fight for answers.
“It should always be our role to be a voice for the community and a haven for those who seek refuge from all the ills of society,” he said.
Black said people from across the country have reached out to him in support of the march.
No letters have been received or sent so far, Black said. The goal is for all the letters to be mailed the day of the march, so they’ll all be received at the same time.
Those who cannot attend the rally can email their letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.