Sunday, July 07, 2013

I won't forget Nailah Franklin

This beautiful young woman was killed in 2007. It will be six years ago this September! And the man arrested for her murder -- a former boyfriend who threatened to have her "erased" -- is still sitting behind bars, no trial date set. I refuse to use his name in this post, but if you want to read more about the case, click here.

I prefer instead to concentrate on Nailah. I never met her, but our lives intersected. The advertising agency she once worked for is just up the street from the one where I work, and after she went missing, her heartbroken coworkers were on the el platforms, leafletting and making sure we were all familiar with their friend's face, her car and her license plate.

The search for Nailah was big news for over a week, but then her body was found, a suspect was arrested, and life went on.

But I haven't forgotten. I have an old lover in my past who mistreated me physically, so when I read about the suspect's arrest it stirred deep feelings in me. I was also moved by how much former her coworkers loved her, how hard they worked on her search. Nailah Franklin must have been very special. And so, in tribute ...

Nailah Franklin was one of 5 daughters.

She graduated first from Homewood Flossmoor High School and then the University of Illinois.

She spent 5 years at the prestigious ad agency, Leo Burnett.

She moved to Eli Lilly in 2006 because she believed a sales job would help give her greater control over her finances and career.

She loved "all things Oprah."

She loved clothes and had a terrific sense of fashion.

Her mother told the Tribune that she wondered why Nailah "always seemed to be in such a hurry to live life. I think her spirit knew she had such a short time on this Earth and she had to cram in as much living as possible."

An older sister remembers her "little baby voice that she never grew out of, but she was bold and spirited, headstrong and beautiful."

Her father recalls "an exceptionally smart woman" and says that not a day goes by that he doesn't miss her.

A younger sister smiles when she remembers CD/DVD collection because "it was such a reflection of her -- a combination of old school songs by Luther Vandross
and Tae Bo exercise DVDs."

Her youngest sister tried to follow Nailah to Urbana but she wasn't accepte
d. She treasures Nailah's words of encouragement as she applied to other schools. "When we learned she had died, I considered quitting the nursing program. But I remembered how much she believed in me and I thought it was important to keep going."

She volunteered at the Chicago Urban League.She was eulogized as "not a star, but a superstar."

She was just 28 when she died.