Its not that I don’t think they shouldn’t be mourned. By all means, please, mourn for Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Farrah fought a brave and devastating battle against cancer. She was public with her struggle, and gave hope to many, even in her last days. Michael Jackson was, for all the drama, a legend in the music and entertainment industry. So yes, let them be mourned. Host a memorial, leave flowers by their picture, create an hour special for Dateline. Because what life is not worth being mourned in death?
But we must be cautious, because that last statement can lead us down a dangerous path; one that equates the amount of mourning with the worth of one’s life. The people who are becoming professional mourners, standing vigil outside of Michael Jackson’s former estate, seem to paint the picture that the King of Pop was something more than just entertainment royalty. The insane barrage of coverage every day on every news cycle would seem to have the public believe that the death of Michael Jackson is more worthy than any other news story the world over.
Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that there were quick responders to MJ, and a doctor by his side nearly every minute of the day for the last few months. I’m glad that Farrah had intensive, holistic care and loved ones by her side when she passed. I just wish that everyone had those comforts.
So for those who didn’t have adequate medical care, for those who died alone, we stand. We stand saying we HONOR and REMEMBER all who have passed. We call out the names of those we know, saying each life is worthy to be mourned, with a moment of silence for the names we have not learned.
Today, we stand for:
- Wes Singletary III, age 39, who died by suicide at the Aurora Bridge on June 10th.
- James Ware, age 48, who died by suicide in Kent on June 10th.
- Michael Lovelady, age 51, who was found dead on June 16th. The cause of his death is still pending.
- Aric Mayhew, age 31, who was found dead on June 16th. The cause of his death is still pending.
- Shawn Clark, age 25, who was hit by a train and killed on June 20th. Shawn was a longstanding and beloved activist and friend to the street youth community.
- Wade Doyle, age 48, who was found dead outside on June 22nd. The cause of his death is still pending. Wes was a longstanding and beloved member of the SHARE community.
Every time a homeless person is found dead outside or dies by violence in King County, WHEEL (a homeless women’s organizing effort) and the Church of Mary Magdalene (an ecumenical day ministry) mobilize for our silent witnessing vigil called Women in Black.
At least 22 homeless people have died outdoor/violent deaths this year!
(Information on the deaths taken from the Women in Black press release)