Frank Workman: Just for a moment... a sense of what's it's like

Sunday, June 7, 2020

The Snohomish River - Photo by Wayne Pridemore

By Frank Workman

Over the years, I’ve watched thousands of young people playing in various sporting activities. I’ve gotten to know hundreds of them. Of at least fifty, I’ve been known to say ‘that’s as good a person as you’ll ever meet”.

One of those is my friend Amanda. She’s now a college student. She’s black.

When she was growing up, I’m sure her teachers checked every box on her report each semester (“Is a pleasure to have in class.” “Works well with others.” “Shows initiative.”)

Just being around her makes you feel like you’re better off for it.

If she were a star, she’d be the brightest one in the sky.

As I’ve watched the events of the last two weeks unfold, I’ve thought a million thoughts.

Early this week I thought of Amanda.

I texted her and asked her what she was thinking.

She responded with a lengthy message that expressed her anger and frustration, not just at the killing of George Floyd, but also by the response by many that the protests aren’t appropriate (as if another killing of a black man by police IS appropriate), ignoring entirely the reasons for the protests.

I could tell she was furious. I also knew that being of a different age and skin color, I couldn’t possibly feel what she was feeling.

But then the next day a thought struck me…. what if Amanda was The Next One? I imagined her face down on the pavement somewhere, with an officer’s knee on her neck, begging for her life. Then seeing it over and over again on the news.

A wave of anguish washed over me. My eyes welled with tears.

I thought of how her death would affect me personally, to not be able to watch her fulfill her enormous promise in my final years.

I thought of her immediate family and the grief that would stay with them for the rest of their lives.

I thought of her friends and teachers, all of whom have had a hand in helping her become what she is today.

And I thought of all the lives she’d never be able to touch, and all the good she’d never be able to do, no matter how high she might have risen in the world, whether she’d become President, Senator, CEO, teacher, coach, or that most important job of all….mom.

What a loss, for all of us.

Maybe for just a instant I was able to begin to get a sense of the anger and the rage that so many African-Americans have had to endure for too many years, not just starting with the killing of George Floyd, but with all the other people of color who have been murdered solely because of the color of their skin - their lives cut short before fulfilling the promise of their lives.

The racism in our country that diminishes the value of black lives must end.

Black lives matter.


Brian Boston June 7, 2020 at 7:22 AM  

Wow, Frank. You took me there too. Thank you.

Barb June 7, 2020 at 11:57 AM  

Such a poignant reflection. Thank you for your haunting, powerful words which speak so much truth to the shameful bigotry which is our country's most painful legacy.
No one is free until all are free. Black Lives Matter, indeed.

thelastdj June 7, 2020 at 2:44 PM  

Frank..still the man. Wonderful insight into 'one' Black Lives Matter'personally known by you. We can't stop marching, voting, praising life itself until..? Well, I too have waited a long time. PeaceOut

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