Dozens gathered Friday night to celebrate the life of Joel Odom, who, at age 20, was the youngest candidate in the 2019 mayoral race. The candlelight vigil was held at his alma mater, Northwest School of the Arts.
Odom, 22, was found dead inside his home on Feb. 25. The medical examiner’s office has not released its findings.
Family, friends and colleagues spoke throughout the evening of Odom’s commitment to Charlotte.
“Joel was like my son, and I miss him so much,” Vera Williams, his great-grandmother said.
Charlotte City Council member Dimple Ajmera described him as “courageous and bright beyond his years.”
“He loved Beatties Ford Road,” Melody Spears, principal at Northwest School of the Arts, said. “Beatties Ford is a special place to not only me, but to Joel as well.”
Toward the end of the vigil, NAACP Charlotte President Corine Mack awarded Joel’s family with the branch’s President’s Award in his honor.
“I think we’re all better because we knew him,” at-large County Commissioner Pat Cotham said.
A funeral service will be today at St. Paul Baptist Church in the Belmont neighborhood, beginning with a public viewing at 11 a.m.