Remembering Shannon Markell Butler
The personal compelling message to Do Right originated in the heart of Shannon Butler, who lost his brother Teron to street violence, and growing up in Baltimore City experienced countless other losses in his life. Violence in the city is out of control, and it was easy to become a part of the problem instead of having some answers towards a solution. Shannon answered the problem by recognizing there were real family, social, educational and especially financial struggles that sometimes made it appear almost impossible for the best choices to be made, even in his own life.
In his heart of hearts, and in spite of the various struggles he witnessed all around him, Shannon re-established in himself what he had already learned and knew, success could be achieved by making better choices. Not by being perfect, as none of us are, but success was obtainable by also “being found doing what is right”. Sounds simple, but so many youth today don’t understand or believe this can be achieved at all.
With his excitement that literally caused him to get goosebumps, Shannon was passionate to catch, gather and help as many youth as he could by spending time encouraging them. He had outings, and participated in sports activities alongside of them. Shannon used his passenger service to support them. He even helped the youth monetarily from time to time. These were some of the ways he created a doorway to the sharing of core values that would help them to embrace a simple, but sometimes furthest concept from their mind, to DO RIGHT. Shannon wanted to positively influence them while they were young. He wanted doing right re-introduced and rehearsed often, so it could grow with them as they grew and matured into young men. Especially when the wrong choices seem to be much more popular every day, and everywhere they turned.
Although Shannon, who had strong faith in God; who was an amazing son, who was an outstanding father; a loving brother; a part of helping the less fortune with ('Paperboys' Positivity Building Generations); worked full time; and who operated his seasonal auto passenger service; he still found time to help the young boys when he began The Association of New Men Ltd 'Brothers Teaching Brothers To Be Successful by Doing Right.' He loved it, and it meant the world to him to make that kind of impression on their young lives.
With my heartfelt deepest regret, on October 19, 2016, my son Shannon himself became a victim of the very violence that took his brother and that he wanted to save the youth from. The devastation to me of losing another child was crushing. My family’s world had been shattered yet again. Not only had I lost one, but I had lost both of my loving sons to violence here in the city of Baltimore.
Should I, their mother be lying in bed face down with covers over my head? Should I hate this city, and everything about it? Should I be mentally broken down living in an institution? Should I turn from God? Should I let all of the impact made go down in the grave with my sons? Should I believe it’s no use, like some of our youth do right now? NO, no, no, no, no and NO. I can’t, and I won’t. The Do Right Foundation picked up where Shannon left off, reaching the very community where he lost his life; the city of Baltimore; Maryland and beyond.
The need is great. As my family’s healing is ongoing; all of the remorse from the hurt and pain is redirected into our passion to carry his legacy on, and to benefit our youth in the homes, communities, and schools that need it the most. There is still hope, and there are still youth out there who need the help Shannon offered, that we as a foundation, IN HONOR OF HIM will continue to give. Helping them better understand their decisions can be navigated towards their success and reaching goals. It could save lives. If there is just one more who can get this message, and can know they don’t have to take an unproductive, disastrous road. Even as unpopular as it is today, they can be successful by Doing Right!
Paulette Butler, Founder
Do Right Shannon Markell Butler Foundation, Inc.