My friend and colleague Naire’ seemed unstoppable, until she was murdered during a domestic violence shooting in September 2019. She was a proud and devoted mom to her son Scottie, raising him to know all the complexities of being a Black youth in our country. She was a loyal and steadfast coworker, and she was a fierce supporter of the students at our school in lower Manhattan, where she was a school resource officer. The wall behind her desk in the lobby of our school was full of student photos that she lovingly collected. She knew an astounding number of students from many years, and we sometimes joked that I needed her to make a master list with photos for me to use when students came back for alumnae days.
When I was pregnant with my first child and feeling sick and overwhelmed daily, it was Naire’ who gave me the positivity and hugs that I needed daily. And in the weeks before my daughter was born, hers was the first gift I received at school: a knitted wrap that I now cling to as a reminder of her.
I miss her every day, and I wish for just one more hug.