Main Man

Love is our most unifying and empowering common spiritual denominator. The more we ignore its potential to bring greater balance and deeper meaning to human existence, the more likely we are to continue to define history as one long inglorious record of man’s inhumanity to man.”
― Aberjhani, Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry

Intimate. Not the adjective, as in intimate relationship. But the noun, an intimate, as in best friend, bosom buddy, confidante, close buddy, main man, homie.That’s Ronnie Grace to many, many people. He is so comfortable with a mic, it is easy to forget that he is most often on the phone, at the back of the room, or in his office. Listening. Listening. Listening.

He is a go-to guy. He let’s us know who he is and he finds out who we are. He has inside information on many of us, detailed knowledge about us. We seem to be okay with that, too. Because Ronnie keeps business close.

But it would be a mistake to assume that Ronnie is just an affable guy whom everyone likes. He is also a determined warrior. His mother, siblings, nieces, and nephews know. Ronnie has you. You will not be messed with. The Medical College of Wisconsin, ARCW, Milwaukee Health Services, Black Health Coalition, Sisters Helping Each Other Battle Adversity (SHEBA) — know that, too.

If Ronnie says he will see if he can get some people out to an event, hosts should plan to have extra food on supply because Ronnie will deliver. When Brenda or I would want a crowd to talk with the health commissioner, Ronnie would make some calls and fill a room. When we launched a new program, wanted a turnout for media — whatever — Ronnie could fill a room.

And Ronnie is a performer. He seems to enjoy a microphone. He is a ballroom dancer. But his own body is also a performance art project. For years, Ronnie celebrated his birthday a day early, on February 14. He rightly justified this because of how synchronous Valentine’s Day celebrations would be with his person.

But this day, February 15, will go down in history, not for some dubious saint, but for real live hero.

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–
― Langston Hughes

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