After their son, 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, was killed days before graduating from Bowie State University, parents Dawn and Rick Collins vowed to protect future Americans with a bill that makes it easier to prosecute acts motivated in part by hate. They discuss their mission and the foundation they started in their son’s memory with TODAY’s Craig Melvin.
Today, Rick and Dawn Collins are waiting to have a request approved that would allow their son to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. With the backing of Maryland lawmakers, the couple submitted a request for an exception to the policy after being told their son wasn’t eligible.
A new collaboration between the University of Maryland and Bowie State University will honor the memory of 1st Lt. Richard Collins III, who was killed on the College Park campus in 2017, by creating new opportunities to learn about and foster social justice.
UMD has also created a new scholarship in Collins’ name, with special consideration for ROTC students. A memorial is planned to be unveiled in the near future.
Almost from the moment three years ago that Lt. Richard Collins III was murdered on the campus of the University of Maryland in what prosecutors called a hate crime, his parents Dawn and Richard vowed to try to make the world a better place in their son's name.
"This is an assignment we've been given and we're gonna do everything we can to carry out this assignment to the best of our abilities," says Richard Collins II.
As protests against police brutality and racial inequality continue throughout the country, we sit down with the parents of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III to discuss their son’s legacy and their hopes that other Americans also convene conversations about racism.
On Monday, the former Maryland student charged with a hate crime in Collins’ killing is set to stand trial, after four different delays pushed it back about two years. But amid the painful setbacks, Collins’ family established a foundation in his honor. They’re pushing for full military honors for ROTC graduates who die before they begin serving, for hate to be better addressed on college campuses and across the country — and, most importantly, for remembrance.