Friends and family gathered around the East Bay on Sunday to celebrate the life of Terrence McCrary Jr. (known to many as Terrence Mack).
Mack, who was 22 years young, was born and raised in Berkeley. Also known as TMack, Sweet T and Lil BadBadBad, behind he leaves a cohort of friends and family who are dedicated to ensuring that his legacy lives on.
Mack was shot and killed early Sunday morning, along with 20-year-old Craig Fletcher-Cooks, while attending a birthday party at Prime Development art gallery in downtown Oakland.
Friends worked quickly to organize memorials in Mack’s honor: a celebration at Lake Merritt in Oakland during the day, and a candlelight vigil in Berkeley’s San Pablo Park on Sunday night.
A fundraiser has been set up to help the family.
Mack’s longtime friends, Nicco Piña and Winn Child-Phillips, organized the Berkeley vigil to acknowledge and remember him.
Piña — also known as Neek Levy — and other friends and family of Mack, including his mother and father, Florence and Terrence McCrary Sr., met at San Pablo Park for the vigil.
Florence McCrary said she was overwhelmed by the love and support people have shown for her son, and that it was beautiful to see everyone come together in his name.
Terrence Sr. took a moment to address the crowd. He voiced his appreciation for all the kind gestures from the community, and finished his talk with powerful words: “My son was going to change the world.”
Levy said he wholeheartedly agrees.
“Terrence is, and always will be, a human representation of what the city of Berkeley truly is,” he said. “He was loving, caring, kindhearted, and always extended his hand to people in need. T wanted everyone to come together. And through him we all did at some point, just like we are doing now. My brother is a community leader. He’s a Berkeley legend.”
“Berkeley legend” is the perfect way to describe a young man who spent his entire life making sure the people in this city kept a smile on their faces. He attended Berkeley public schools throughout his life, and graduated from Berkeley High in 2011.
He was a frequent visitor at the skatepark in West Berkeley, and later got a job at shoe and clothing shop Bows and Arrows, on Telegraph Avenue.
It was common for people to enter the store and be greeted by a huge smile from Mack. Bows and Arrows owner Dandelion Harris, along with the rest of Mack’s coworkers, expressed their pain after his death and said the energy he brought to the shop could not easily be replaced. They shut down Bows and Arrows on Sunday in his honor.
His good friend and fellow employee at Bows and Arrows, Cristal Leon, had this to say about Mack:
my heart is broken. my lil guy is gone. I can’t stop crying, I rushed over as soon as I heard only to be met with the coldest silence, flashing lights, and a billow of pain. The air was stale, I held on to that little bit of hope for dear life. I couldn’t help but drop to my knees when I got to the scene. Alone. I waited and waited, hoped and hoped this wasn’t real–not you. Not you T. My brother my friend. My lil light when I was in the dark you were always there to lend me your heart and share warm embrace. You had the most beautiful smile, so pure. I felt so lucky every time I saw it, like everything was exactly how it’s supposed to be, in those moments & the moments that followed. You had style bro, the way you walked, the way you talked, how you moved so effortlessly. You had my back and I yours, like no other. My lil guardian angel. Boy you’re something special…….I wish I could hold you right now, tell you how much I love and appreciate you. I always told you any chance I got, you know.
The good ones go–it’s a shame it had to be this way, I’m enraged and feel so lifeless, so empty, so weak–the opposite of anything you’d ever want me to be. I’m so sorry. I’m so so sorry. I will do my absolute best to maintain my strength through this, I cant promise I won’t break, but I promise you I’ll pick the pieces back up again–for you. For everyone who loves you. We will stick together, MOB, for you!
I want to keep writing but I can’t stop crying, I’m so dizzy, my head literally feels like it’s going to explode. I wish you were here. I miss you so much already.
I’m blessed to have known such a divine soul. Thank you for blessing me.
I love you baby boy
Forever will be my memory of you
The other memorial Sunday to remember Terrence took place at Lake Merritt, one of his favorite hangouts. Whether he was meeting friends for barbecues, water fights or just going to skate, it was one of his favorite getaway spots.
Friend Gibran Garcia said it was only right to honor him at a place where he made so many memories.
“Honestly, it was just great that we could all get together as if nothing had happened,” Garcia said. “Seeing everybody happy…it was intense. I’m sure if he can see us and everything we’re doing for him, he’d be happy… and very proud.”
Terrence’s death caught a lot of people by surprise. His untimely death is a testament to how deep violence can cut. A young man who was known for his ability to make everyone feel loved had his life cut short by a senseless act of violence.
As we remember Terrence it is important that we learn from his life. His ability to care for people more than he did himself is something we should all try to duplicate.
If you have to ask if Terrence’s death will be in vain, just look at the way he has brought us all together. May we continue to express our love and gratitude for his short but impactful life.
To his friends and family, I send my deepest condolences. I could write a million words, but I still wouldn’t be able to make people understand what he meant to this world. May his soul rest in peace.
Berkeleyside freelancer Delency Parham was a longtime friend of Terrence Mack. He shared this reflection on the loss of his friend.
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