The 100 Black Men of Knoxville held an emotional tribute Saturday night in downtown Knoxville to honor local hero Zaevion Dobson, who died shielding his friends from gunfire.
Dobson, 15, was one of the chapter's star mentees. As a part of the program, leaders announced the chapter will name its scholarship after Zaevion.
“Zaevion was one of our best mentees,” said mentorship chair Rick Staples. “A lot of the other future leaders loved Zaevion. Being that he was mentee and he was one of our own, we wanted to dedicate our annual scholarship to him.”
Hundreds attended the gala including Zaevion's mother Zenobia, who leaders honored with flowers.
After a short presentation, former chapter president Andre Canty took the podium to deliver a passionate speech.
“The whole world stopped for a moment for one of our kids,” Canty said. “He did something that hardly anyone would do, no matter what the age or the time. And that's what heroes do."
Canty is asking young people to live in hope instead of fear.
Michael Darden, a mentee with 100 Black who remembers Zaevion as his best friend, says it's been tough since Zaevion died. Still, the group is trying to stay positive.
"It just brought us closer together,” Michael said. “We think about Zaevion every day, but it just brought us closer together because every day isn't promised all the time."
The chapter announced it will name its scholarship after Zaevion. Currently, it mentors 27 young boys and boasts an 85 percent graduation rate.