The burdens of a public life, of living as a symbol of some vast and unquenched yearning, are well-known, but few among us understand with the terrible insight of the Shabazz family what it means to die that way. Malcolm Shabazz, activist, blogger, and grandson of Malcolm X, died Thursday in Mexico City at the age of twenty-eight. His is the seventh untimely death in an index of lamentation that spans four generations. For many years now it has been quietly known and seldom spoken that both Martin and Malcolm’s heirs occupy a space on the far end of some bell curve of suffering. The specifics—King’s brother drowning little more than a year after his assassination, his mother gunned down in the sanctuary where he and his father pastored, Betty Shabazz’s death after a fire in her home—seem both too crucial to forget and too cruel to recognize with any frequency.
"Why should the rest of the world care? Horace said it best: mutate nomine de te tabula narratur. ‘Change only the name and this story is also about you.’ Where ever justice suffers our common humanity suffers, too. I will live to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may or may not be a long wait. Whichever way events may go, I shall persevere!"