Two months after Destiny Harrison, a 21-year-old mother and businesswoman, was gunned down in her McElderry Park beauty salon, a city councilman announced plans to start a scholarship fund in her name.
Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen hopes to raise $20,000 for the fund, which will help recipients pay fees and expenses at the cosmetology program at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, the city school Harrison graduated from in 2016.
Donations will be solicited from local businesses, civic leaders, the donor community and the general public, according to an item describing the effort on Wednesday’s Board of Estimates agenda.
In the first round of scholarships, Cohen says, five people will be awarded $1,000 each. That will cover licensing exams, license fees, cosmetology kits and uniforms, and other items.
After talking with Harrison’s family, local barbers and beauticians, Cohen said he felt that creating the scholarship would be a good way to honor Harrison’s life and recognize the efforts cosmetology and hairstyle workers have in their communities.
“Barbers and braiders are the clinicians of their communities. They have been leaders in the Healing City Movement,” Cohen said. “Destiny was murdered in front of her child. The trauma her death caused was immense... Destiny’s legacy will be to support young women to grow into leaders, beauticians and entrepreneurs like she was. This is what a healing city looks like.”
Harrison’s mother, Racquel Harrison, said Tuesday she was proud to hear news of the scholarship fund, calling it will help her daughter’s legacy live on.
“It is a wonderful way to honor someone who is so passionate about their craft," Harrison said. “It is something (Destiny) would have done once she was all the way established in her business."
Maria Conway, one of Harrison’s former teachers, said Harrison was just as driven as a business owner as she was when she sitting in the classroom.
“She was just a driven young girl, she always wanted to do this," Conway said.
After Harrison’s hair salon business started growing and showing success, Conway said, she would reach back to younger students who were in the same cosmetology program to give them professional experience and opportunities.
“It means a lot and it meant a lot. I have other students that she helped get on — she really did reach back," Conway said. “When she got herself established she helped them. She didn’t mind helping people get to where they needed to be as a cosmetologist.”
Harrison owned the Madame D Beauty Bar hair salon on the 200 block of North Milton Avenue in East Baltimore. She was working there when someone robbed her and shot her in the head on Dec. 21. The young woman’s violent death caught the attention of people like professional boxer and Baltimore native Gervonta Davis who offered to help pay for her funeral services.
In December of last year, Baltimore police announced a $4,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Harrison’s killing, but no arrests have been made.
Homicide detectives are asking anyone with information to call 410-396-2100 or leave an anonymous tip with Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7lockup.