Letter: Remembering

Letter: Remembering

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CHRIS SIMENSON

DUNKERTON -- I want each of you to remember the name Johnny Conyers. Write it down and once a year pull it out and look at it. Why? Who is he?

I met Johnny in 1976 when I was sent from Chicago to run a small U.S. Steel warehouse in Atlanta. Johnny was a 27-year-old black man who operated a sophisticated steel processing machine. We bonded immediately and it became obvious to me that he was smart, conscientious, and responsible. In fact, over time I delegated the responsibility of lead-man to take over whenever I was absent. He replaced a white southerner who was part of a crew of good ol’ boys, well versed in stereotypical race behavior.

One morning around 4 a.m., I received a call from my truck driver. “Johnny’s dead” were his chilling words. After work he visited his brother who worked at a convenience store. A robbery occurred and Johnny was shot while talking to his wife on a pay phone.

Consoling his wife holding their baby was heartbreaking. Johnny was a black life that mattered and there is no demonstration to honor his memory or that of the countless thousands killed in a similar manner. Remember Johnny.

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