Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Attention must be paid"

As the city rejoices in the Cubs, there's also a very different story soaking up a lot of airtime and ink -- the disappearance and death of Nailah Franklin. This beautiful young pharmaceutical company exec was deeply loved, and her family and friends demanded that she not just become another "missing black woman" statistic. On both a large societal level, and an intimate and deeply personal level, Nailah Franklin's story struck a nerve and that line from Death of a Salesman keeps running through my head. For the full nine days that she was missing, the people who loved Ms. Franklin made sure attention was paid to her case.

Her family appeared in front of every newscamera they could, reminding us of what Nailah looked like and what model car she'd been driving. Friday evening, as I boarded the el, I was one of many commuters stopped by meticulously groomed young women who rather forcefully pressed flyers about Nailah into our hands, begging us to be on the lookout for their friend. (I wasn't surprised to learn that Nailah had once worked at nearby Leo Burnett; these gals had that enthusiastic, not-yet-burnt-out ad agency account exec air to them.) I got home to learn from a local newscast that Nailah's body had been identified. Even as her friends were recruiting volunteers to search for her, she was dead.

It's so sad, yet there's something positive and life-affirming about how people of different ages and races came together to search for and pray for Nailah Franklin.

This woman must have been very special. And, since attention must be paid, here are details about her life that go beyond the tragic circumstances of her death:

Nailah Franklin was one of 5 daughters. She graduated from Homewood Flossmoor High School and went on to the University of Illinois.
Her sisters, with whom she was very close,
held out hope until the very end
that their sister was alive, saying,
"her spirited and strong personality would help her endure."

She was just 28.

Unconscious Mutterings #12

I say ... and you think ... ?

1. Crook :: Cop
2. Career :: Going OK, I guess
3. Freckles :: Nose
4. Scramble :: Carnival ride
5. Mistake :: Error
6. Telephone :: "Oh, telephone line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight"
(ELO song)
7. Thank you :: "You're welcome"
8. Obstruction :: Construction (as in Chicago's torn-up highways)
9. 24/7 :: Around the clock
10. SciFi :: Star Trek

For more information, or to play along yourself, visit Unconscious Mutterings