A nurse, Jill, stands by the bedside of the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The CEO, John, hired Jill to take care of him when he was diagnosed with cancer. John was a fighter. He never took ‘no’ for an answer and he refused to let this disease stop him from working either. So, he took his meds and hired Jill to make sure he was able to do his work.
John’s job was his life; he had never had time for a wife or children, but as he was confined to his bed, he longed for a family. He had all he could ever imagine. Two houses, a yacht and a garage full of cars, but his possessions were silent. They were empty and could not fill the void of connection. He looked into Jill's eyes and saw a strong woman; one that loved her job. She listened and was very compassionate towards him. He thought about how he would be mean to people like Jill when he was at the top of his game. He would play off of their emotions just to pad his pockets. He thought about all the pain he caused in his life for a profit that could not even get him out of his bed now. No money could defeat the disease that was eating away at him inside. He was dying and he knew it and was afraid that no one would remember him. He was afraid that his work would be forgotten and his life replaced by someone as heartless as he was.
Jill looked at John and saw a broken man; a man that was so strong before but now dependent on another person for help. Jill took his hand and said, "Everything will be alright. You will see." Her smile touched John in places he never felt before. He felt loved. He knew all of his mistakes and the hurt he caused for many, however, in that moment he felt none of it mattered. He was loved in spite of his actions. Tears fell down his face and his lips curled up as he whispered, "Thank you.” A weight lifted off of his shoulders, taking with it, shame and hurt; leaving in its wake, love and peace. He closed his eyes and fell asleep crossing between worlds with the words: everything will be alright, leading the way.
A class sits in silence as they listen to their principal share the chilling news that their algebra teacher had just been shot and killed by the police. Silent tears fall on hollow hearts.
A girl thinks about the time she needed help with an assignment and Mr. Brooks took time after class to help her, but she didn't to say thank you. A boy thinks of the time Mr. Brooks stopped two boys from bullying him because he did have expensive basketball shoes on.
In shock the silence is deafening. The principal sits down overwhelmed. In the midst of sorrow a boy stands up in front of the class and speaks.
"Mr Brooks deserved better. He was a good man. They killed not only a good person they killed a hero. They deserve to die but that is not what Mr. Brooks would want. He would want us to keep fighting for ourselves. To keep beating the odds. To love the unlovable. That is his legacy. That is his message he shared with us every day which we refused to listen to. We refused to do our homework or study for a test. We refused to be kind to each other. We refused to be kind to ourselves. He fought for us because he believe in us. We didn't appreciate it but I do now. I see now in spite of my anger Mr. Brooks love has reached my heart."
Fighting back tears he continues.
Mr. Brooks loved us. Now it is time to love ourselves. We must fight for hope of a better future. We must not let his death end in silence. We must be his voice now. WE must do the work now. All of us have lost someone in this war. We need each other. We need to be heard. We will be heard.
The boy takes a knee as his classmates surround him. In silence their voice shakes heaven.