Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Warrior Scholar



Many of you have heard by now of my beautiful nephew passing away just two weeks ago. I thank you for your cards and emails sending me love and hope during this devastating time for my family. My heart is heavy with his unexpected death, but I find joy and pride in all that he accomplished. 

Thank you for honoring him, by acknowledging the momentary stop in the earth's spin, as he left us.
***



Tomas Garret-Rosas


WarriorScholars
Tom├ís Garrett-Rosas is a Sociology Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Some of the courses he teaches are Communities of Color, Social Problems and Social Change.  His research focuses on the academic achievement of African American, Latina/o, and mixed race/multiethnic urban high school students.  He received his Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his Ph.D. in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Garrett-Rosas is also a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Fellow. He participated in the Minority Activist Apprenticeship Program and completed an internship in Oakland, California.  He shared a passion for social change, and was an avid community volunteer and activist. It was through his time spent motivating union workers and at risk youths, that Dr. Garret-Rosas realized the power of organizing: 
"Ever since participating in MAAP my life has been focused on the empowerment of communities of color. I’ve worked on organizing campaigns dealing with various issues such as lead abatement, immigration, police accountability and asset forfeiture. While working with Action for a Better Community in Denver, we were able to get the first free lead tests for children in the state of Colorado. I also initially organized Youth of Oakland United to train teens of color in Oakland to organize against forms of social control.
My experience with MAAP helped to build the foundation for the rest of my life. It inspires and shapes my current research on urban youth of color. I sometimes run my research work past folks at CTWO to get insight and advice.  Finally, my teaching is informed by my experiences in organizing and from the training that I received since initially becoming part of this extraordinary family.  “Always remember the first rule of power tactics; power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.” (Saul Alinsky)

Source: WarriorScholars 

***

The depth of one's grief is measured by the depth of one's love, and we have felt that this week. We're struggling through, Tommy, missing the bright star that you were in so many lives.

Did you know that during your visitation Thursday night, the staff at the funeral home had to find additional guest pages for your book from the other rooms because our guest register had used every page after only one hour? Did you know that with the crowd that came to see you that night, there was no room left to even stand? Spilling out into the street, the people that came to see you waited in the rain to say good bye.

I arrived early that afternoon, 3 o'clock, somehow finding my way there, almost unable to read the street signs through the blur of my tears. I came to set up your reception area for your guests, confident that I had brought enough food along with me to last until 7 p.m. By 5:15, I knew I wouldn't have enough. The crowd there to see you, so many -- the only thing I had left to offer your friends was a platter of small dinner rolls.

Did you see the church holding your services Friday morning?

Not a spare seat on the main floor, the balconies filled, and people standing in the church stairwell, one behind the other, because there were no more places to sit.

Did you see it, Tommy? So many people, for you.

Be at rest, my beautiful nephew. I love you.


61 comments:

  1. Again, I'm so very sorry for your loss. What an amazing man he was.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for sharing his life with me, A. It's going to be a long road, this one.

    xo

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such a handsome guy. And so accomplished, so smart. It looks like he crammed a lot of living into the time he was here. A Master's, a PhD, a professor, he made his family proud. Sorry I never (we all never) got a chance to meet him. RIP Tommy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suzy, thank you for listening these past two weeks. The most generous thing to give to a person in sorrow, is your time.

      Thank you, for your ear at 1 a.m., 3 a.m., always there.

      Delete
  4. Thank you for putting a face to the name of your nephew. Tomas is incredibly handsome and he sounds like he was so smart and intuitive to others. His loss is felt around the Internet. Not only everyone who knew him and loved him in real life for all he was and all he could be. But all of us who never had the chance to meet and spend time with such a warm and caring human being. There is much we could've learned from him. You have been heard Alexandra and your loss is deeply felt. Much love to you and Tomas' family as you come to terms with the premature ending that was written by him.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If only. If only our loved ones wo are so troubled, so sad, so lost, could only see how loved, how wanted, how needed they are -- how much they mean to us (we should say it more), how much good they are doing for others (we should say it more), how better our lives are having them in it, how better they are making others' lives (we should say it more. I wish they would listen.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hereby resolved: a new realization for everyone: never pass a moment over, to say the words "I love you, you know."

      xo

      Delete
  6. I wish I could take away some of your pain. Words are never enough, but my heart breaks for you and your family. Such a handsome and accomplished young man. I wish peace for you and your family and for him. Peace and the ability to feel that remarkable outpouring of love from his vantage point. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LInda. This is one we can't accept as real yet. He's still the little boy I took care of until he was 16. He always will be, my sister's baby.

      Delete
  7. So few do so much with the time they have. He made a difference Alex and that is something. Very sorry for your family's loss.
    Dana

    ReplyDelete
  8. When my aunt passed away 5 years ago the loss was as huge for us and this community. She was the first female bus driver in the state let alone our county and the morning she passed would have been her 40th year behind the wheel. She had never missed the first day of school till that day. The visitation was lined around the small building, the book was filled within an hour. The funeral required the opening of the whole funeral home along with access in the basement to the audio of the whole thing. I had never seen so many people for a funeral of just someone that wasn't a star or famous. We realized she had touched the lives of in many cases of 3 generations of families, that is a broad reach. My prayers and heart are with your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She sounds incredible. Thanks for your kind thoughts, Angel.

      Delete
  9. Alexandra,

    Thank you so much for continuing to share Tomas's story with us. I am inspired by his work and his passion. He will continue to inspire and touch others as you and your family honor his life and his memory. Besos y abrazos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have been here for me, in flesh and blood, and I can't thank you enough. Thank you so much. For listening, and not saying a word.

      Delete
  10. I am so glad the Church was flooded with love for this accomplished young man. I hope your family finds comfort in remembering it and that it continues to surround you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So happy to meet and know and witness the man who grew out of that darling little boy with the world in his eyes, from that first photo you posted of him when this all happened. Tears rolling down my face. Our time on this marble is so brief, and it's so impossible to come to terms with that. Thank you for sharing him, and you, and your sister, and all the everything that you are going through. We all love all of you so, so much. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacy, how I could use one of your tight hugs--the kind that holds me for as long as I need it.

      xo

      Delete
  12. Oh, gosh, oh gosh, Alexandra. What a loss to the world and to your family. I'm glad you shared this so that we all get a sense for the good he brought to so many.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is still so new, it's going to take time to adjust to life with him in it. Sounds like he was very well thought of, too.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a beautiful man, so well-loved. I'm so sorry for your family and this world's loss.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am so, so sorry. For you, for the rest of his family, and for the world. Sending you love and light as you grieve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I know you know, the hurt I'm speaking of. Yes. Thank you.

      Delete
  16. I am so sorry to hear about this loss for you and your entire family, Alexandra. And for everyone who had not yet met him that clearly would have been enriched by his life. Sounds like he was an incredible person.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am so very sorry for this unthinkable loss. Praying for healing for this beloved soul and all his loved ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.

      It hurts. That's the only thing I think of. This hurts.
      xo

      Delete
  18. I'm so so sorry for your loss. I'm glad there were so many people there to show their love for him and to say goodbye. Sounds like he was amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was like my son. I took care of him while my sister, a single mother, worked and went to school. I consider him my first baby.

      The loss is tremendous.

      Delete
  19. What a tremendous loss, Alexandra. He taught the kinds of classes I took in grad school. I can well imagine what a loss he is to his students and to his community.

    I'm so sorry, Alexandra. I'll be in touch personally.

    ReplyDelete
  20. i miss him so much i can't stand it.

    `a.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a shattering loss. I wish I could offer you a cup of tea and an enveloping hug, but all I have are the useless words: I am so sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh Alexandra! I've been off the grid here for a while now and I just saw this. I am so, so sorry. For your loss, for this wonderful man, and your heartbreak. Sending you my love... Thinking of you...

    ReplyDelete
  23. I just can't formulate the right words. This hits too close to home.

    I love you.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I think about you often, Alexandra. I also think about your nephew and your family and the massive void he left - I know the pain and the deep, soul wrenching loss.

    Just know I know.

    I love you,

    Liz

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm so terribly sorry for your loss. Sending you and your family strength.

    ReplyDelete
  26. He sounds like a gifted and compassionate man. I'm so sorry the world lost him so early.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm so sorry for your loss. xo

    ReplyDelete
  28. So sorry for your loss and pain. My prayers are with you.

    ReplyDelete
  29. So many people... so much love...
    My heart is with you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jenni. I may need to email you.
      This one no one saw coming.

      We are so sad.

      xo

      Delete
  30. Oh, so sorry. My heart is heavy for your family. He sounds like he was a wonderful man.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Heaven just got a little brighter. Big hugs for your heavy hearts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.

      I believe this, too, so THANK YOU.

      xo

      Delete
  32. My heart breaks for you, dear friend. I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew. Wrapping my arms around you in a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE hug and wishing you and your family all the comfort and peace that only God can give.

    How wonderful for you and your family and those he touched to have had such a bright star in your lives. It sounds like he has left a piece of him in many that will always remain.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh no. I'm so so very sorry. What a beautiful tribute to him. I never ever know the right thing to say in these instances. Just know that my heart hurts for you and that I'm truly sorry for your, and the world's, loss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, yes.

      We're still in disbelief here.

      This one, the youngest guy here, I can't see us moving on from this one..

      Thank you so much.

      xo

      Delete
  34. He's beautiful. What a life. I wish I could change it, make it not true. I also wish I could hold you in a tight hug. You have been held in my heart and I will keep you there. xo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ::crying now:

      Me and you both, Stace.

      xo

      Delete
  35. What an immeasurable gap this young man leaves behind and what a beautiful lesson in how to make the world a better place. Your love for him shines through the entire internet--and the portrait you paint of his accomplishments shines too.

    ReplyDelete
  36. What a remarkable remarkable man who obviously touched many lives. I cannot even begin to understand the depth of your family's sadness over this loss. I will say prayers again for all.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I am so sorry. What a loss to all of us that he is no longer in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm so sorry, Alexandra. So very sorry. There are no words to take away even a small portion of the loss you must be feeling right now, but a glimpse at the amount of love that poured in the day of his funeral was--I hope--at least a small comfort.

    XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wish you were here to listen to me tell about him.

      Thank you.

      xo

      Delete
  39. I think he saw it. I really do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so, Helena. Oh, I cling to that so much.

      Thank you. xo

      Delete
  40. He will always be missed and never forgotten. Patricia Fenton

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails