Noooooooo! Now John Pollard died.
I was John’s secretary for a while, and he treated me SO well, utmost respect. He was a man with many opinions, and you might well disagree but you never had to guess where he stood.
We worked together for about a year at the Black Child and Family Institute (I worked there 1989-1994), one of the most incredible jobs I ever had. I was the only “white” person on full time staff. I was interviewed by a panel of 5 staff members, so I knew when I was chosen that they really did choose me. I’d not felt that welcome at any job before.
I had short hair those days. My hair is naturally straight as a pin and I wanted it to have some energy. I went out one day for a long lunch to get my hair cut and permed. Came back with wavy hair and wet look Gel. Pollard took one look at me and said “Sister got a Jheri Curl!” I knew then that I really belonged.
When I knew John, I was coming out of a 16 year relationship which had turned both of us into our worst selves. I was emotionally beat up by the stress. John sensed this, and somehow decided to nickname me “Cool.” He’d call me into his office… “Hey, Cool, can you come here for a minute?” and the like. I needed that nickname just then. I’m still grateful.
Last time I saw John, it was just before a local election. He was at the corner of 496 and Saginaw at the empty gas station with a sign, asking people to honk if they agreed with him. I pulled up, rolled down the window and shouted “Hey Pollard!” He perked right up.
His grandma raised him to stand for his beliefs. To really put his life behind what he stood for. Agree or disagree, he did really live that way.
(He was a “regular” at Lansing City Council meetings. He had opinions and statistics to back them up. He was a powerhouse, or thorn in your side, depending on what opinion you had that day. He had the respect, though, of those who disagreed. I made the Pow! image here in his honor.)
Two deaths in a week, folks. I’m tired of crying.
PostScript: MLive did a nice write up on John, here: http://ow.ly/hde72
PPS: Lansing State Journal wrote about John here: http://ow.ly/hdjbr
PPPS: Lansing City Pulse did a nice job 12/31 here: http://ow.ly/hjWWe