Damorius Fuller Ali has repurposed a Facebook-driven campaign against violence in High Point into a write-in run for mayor.
Damorius Fuller Ali made a quick stop at Remarkable African Hair Braidery, a barbershop in a threadbare shopping center with a cratered parking lot across from the High Point Police Department, to firm up plans for a project to give free haircuts to the children of homicide victims.
It was Monday evening close to dusk. David Nyalimo, the owner, stepped out on the sidewalk to catch the fresh air and take a break.
“We gonna do a cookout for all the children who lost their parents and all the children that’s father and mother’s still living,” Fuller Ali said, as Nyalimo nodded. “All the children who have lost their parents will be getting a free haircut on the 13th and 14th.”
The 26-year-old Fuller Ali has been running at a breakneck pace over the past couple weeks on a self-organized mission to stop the epidemic of violence in High Point. Fuller Ali’s cousin, Tavares Malachi, became the 14th homicide victim in the city when he succumbed on Aug. 5 at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem from injuries sustained in a shooting last month. Malachi was one of seven people shot after a memorial service for yet another homicide victim. With Malachi’s death, the number of homicides in 2017 so far has already doubled the total number for the entire year of 2016. Compounding Fuller Ali’s grief, his uncle, Darryl Anthony Campbell, was fatally shot in his home in Greensboro on Aug. 4.
Fuller Ali has responded to the violence by paying respect to the fallen and lifting up the children they’ve left behind, but he also wants to make the point that, if anything, it’s more important that people love each other in life than in death.
“It ain’t no joke when you gotta watch people who you came up with, people younger than you leave this world like it ain’t nothing, like they never existed,” Fuller Ali said in a recent Facebook Live video, in which he pulled his car over to the side of the road and gave a tear-streaked testimony. “And then you got people who sit and treat you so wrong, so bad, and then you end up being the one in the casket and everybody loves you.
“People don’t understand that we stressed out ’ere,” he continued. “People stressed all over. But all this killing though — I tell everybody that I love y’all. You think anybody come up to me out the blue and say, ‘I love you’? Or do it keep taking me saying, ‘I love you’? There’s people just like me in this world who would go out and tell you every day: ‘I love you.’ A lot of us get walked over. A lot of us get looked past. And then when somebody with a good heart end up dying or getting killed, everybody loves them. If everybody loves people so much, why [are] more and more people getting killed?”
To date, the video has received 2,090 views.
On Aug. 5, Fuller Ali filmed himself walking into the High Point Police Department to notify the chief that he will be bringing Dennis Muhammad, founder of the Peace Keepers — an initiative inspired by the 1995 Million Man March — to the city. (At press time, Fuller Ali was still working on securing a location for the Aug. 13 event.)
“I do feel that the police don’t have the proper equipment or the proper authority to help the people with what’s going on with all these senseless killings, so I’m coming with someone who steps with me in peace,” Fuller Ali told a receptionist at police headquarters. “There will not be guns, but I do have a security group to help me step through the streets in case we feel unsafe, and they are all licensed. So let Chief [Kenneth] Shultz know that Dr. Dennis Muhammad’s coming to High Point, North Carolina on the 13th and 14th.”
After obtaining Chief Shultz’s phone number, Fuller Ali walked back out of police headquarters and said on video: “To any Blood, to any Crip, to any Vice Lord, I don’t care who you are. Come to this meeting.”
Fuller Ali’s commitment to ending the violence channeled into a recent decision to run for mayor, although filing for all municipal elections ended on July 21. He said he hadn’t considered running at the time, adding that several people urged him to run at a High Point NAACP meeting in late July. Considering that he launched the campaign after the close of filing, his fliers — held by supporters, including Asian corner store operators in a string of photos posted on Facebook — urge voters to write in his name on the ballot.
Fuller Ali faces three seasoned politicians in the mayor’s race, including Jay Wagner, a pro-revitalization Republican who has served on city council for two terms; Jim Davis, a conservative Republican who was formerly appointed as mayor to serve the unexpired term of Bernita Sims; and Bruce Davis, a Democrat and former Guilford County Commissioner who helped incubate a planned downtown stadium as a member of the board of directors of the High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“A lot of people say they weren’t willing to vote until they saw me running,” Fuller Ali said. “I’ve been stressed and depressed like them. I’ve seen just as many murders as them.
“I’m running this campaign for people of all colors who are the grassroots community,” he added. “We need to decrease domestic violence, decrease black-on-black violence and decrease blue-on-black violence. Black-on-black violence, blue-on-black violence and does the black dollar matter? These are the main issues affecting the black community.”
Prior to running for mayor, Fuller Ali said he had been working to incorporate a nonprofit called
Yamassee House of Indigenous Sagamora. The purpose for the nonprofit — which he also wants to pursue as mayor — is to establish an entertainment/education/event center sustained by donations from nonprofits and churches, fees and city support that would offer everything from gymnastics to domestic violence counseling and free meals.
Explaining the meaning of the nonprofit name, Fuller Ali said, “It comes from an Indian name, a native name, a name that is hidden, not talked about. Indians got along with everybody in my concept. It means anybody in this house. The world is a house. The Bible says, ‘Love your neighbor.’ ‘Indigenous Sagamora’ just means we’re all native to this land.”
Fuller Ali said regardless of the outcome of the election, he’ll continue his campaign.
“Win, lose or draw, my mission is to make sure I don’t stop showing people that I care about them, so that I can bring some kind of peace,” he said. “The ways I’m doing it are through love, peace and freedom from fear.”