As an organizer for Girl Trek, an org that promotes the importance of exercise among Black women, one of Shawnton Clay’s biggest goals to encourage sistas’ to get moving, lost weight and get healthy.
Sadly, the beautiful 30-year-old Tennessee native was found dead in her Nashville home this week, killed by husband, local police say.
According to The Tennessean, on Saturday Clay’s friends and family forced themselves into her home after she didn’t show up to work and couldn’t be reached. That’s when they found her body “with signs of obvious trauma.”
“My baby was a ray of sunshine,” her mother, Lori Sanchez, 50, of Nashville, told the newspaper, adding, “She always had a positive attitude and tried to help everybody. She saw good in everyone no matter the situation.”
On Tuesday (Jan. 28), police charged Clay’s 42-year-old husband, Ronald Dickens Jr., with her murder, but have yet to find him given he’s been missing since the weekend.
A medical examiner is still in the process of determining Clay’s cause of death.
The Tennessean reported that while the couple was married in Las Vegas in 2018, last October, Clay filed or divorce. Most importantly, there was a history of domestic violence, with court papers showing that Dickens had allegedly attacked Clay when she announced that she was leaving him.
According to the newspaper, in July of 2018, Dickens punched Clay with his fists after she “broke up” with him and dragged her out of the car the two were sitting in at the time. After the attack, Clay fled and reported the assault to the police.
Yet, Dickens went on the run for over a year until the police caught up with him last October. But in November, the charges were dropped against him.
Now, Clay’s dead.
“She was fearless, intelligent and just a beautiful soul that was taken away from me,” her mother said. “I need justice for my baby.”
The organization that Clay happily represented released a statement, stressing that Clay was a “bright light in our community.”
“The GirlTrek sisterhood has lost a dedicated organizer and champion of Black women’s health,” GirlTrek national spokeswoman Jewel Bush said in a statement to the Tennessean.
“Shawnton Clay was a bright light in our community. Shawnton personally believed in the power of walking…There’s an entire sisterhood across the country grieving this tragedy and Shawnton will not be forgotten.”
In the meantime, her colleagues have created a GoFund Me page to help raise money for Clay’s funeral.
“Shawn was a true joy to work with and had so much fun and passion to make sure her job was done well. She will be remembered for her love of hiking, turtles, and spreading mental health awareness,” her friends wrote.
Rest in power Shawnton.
Say her name.
Anyone who sees Dickens, who driving a 2017 black Toyota Camry with the Tennessee license number T4522V, or has information about this case is urged to contact Emergency Communications Center at 615-862-8600.