DECATUR, Ga. -- Monday night, friends and family gathered to remember Robert Champion, the Florida A&M University drum major who died after investigators say he was beaten aboard a bus during a hazing ritual.
Champion, a Decatur native and graduate of Southwest DeKalb High School, was 26 years old.
In the year since their son's death, Pam and Robert Champion, Sr. have mounted a campaign to end hazing, setting up a website, foundation and hotline in their son's name.
"We have seen improvements," Mrs. Champion said. "The fact that people are speaking up and reporting hazing and saying that this is happening. That's a plus that they are able to speak up."
During an emotional speech, Mrs. Champion talked about her son and his love for music. She said there is still much to do to wipe out hazing completely, and commended those who have already spoken up to report hazing.
Before the ceremony, she told reporters that time has not made the loss easier.
"I miss my baby. I miss him. Usually when I speak, I don't speak about him because it's too emotional."
Eleven students face felony charges in connection with Champion's death. Two more students are facing misdemeanor charges. The band has been suspended through the 2012-2013 school year.
Champion's parents have set up a hazing hotline: 1-855-N-HAZING. Anyone can call to anonymously report incidents of hazing.