Students mourn the death of former AU student and activist Isaiah Young
Young, known as Zay to friends, was at the forefront of activism at AU
Former AU student Isaiah Young died on Sept. 12 at the age of 21, leaving behind a legacy of passionate campus activism at the University.
The cause of death was a grand mal seizure associated with epilepsy, according to The Blackprint. Young, known as Zay to friends, left AU after their sophomore year and moved back to their home state of Tennessee.
Following Young’s death, friends and family have raised nearly $5,000 to help their family with funeral costs. Young’s funeral was held in Tennessee Friday, according to Ma'at Sargeant, their close friend.
Sargeant, who worked alongside Young in AU’s Black Student Union, told The Eagle that she is thankful for the time she spent with Young.
“I always thought that we’d make more memories together when we were all in a better place,” Sargeant said in a letter addressed to Young that she shared with The Eagle. “When it felt like the world was against me, your love and support gave me the strength to push through. Your friendship really did change my life.”
Young was an outspoken advocate for the black community on campus and a visible presence at campus protests against racism at AU as well as demonstrations against the election of Donald Trump and the appearance of former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos on campus.
“American University, whether admittedly or not, remains forever indebted to Isaiah ‘Zay’ Young and their passion, dedication and unwavering drive to fight on behalf of the Black community on campus,” Jenna Caldwell, the president of The Blackprint, wrote last week.
Young was also involved in other aspects of campus life as a member of Students Against Sexual Violence and the professional law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta. The fraternity released a statement on Young’s passing, stating that “Zay was not only a friend to many but a brother as well who will be dearly missed.”
Sargeant said Young showed her that true friendship is “full of unconditional love, loyalty and support.”
“I am lucky to have been loved by you,” Sargeant wrote. “And my love for you made my perspective evolve, which ultimately made me a better version of myself.”
“Never thought I’d lose you so soon,” she added. “Enjoy your well deserved peace.”