Since Dec. 9, 2013, my life has been changed like I never would have imagined.
That is the day that my 22-year-old son, Nathan Alexander Thaddeus Loveless, made his transition from this life to the next. I can't describe how deeply this has affected mewords cannot describe. it The circumstances of his passing have left me with several dilemmas. One is, "How do I talk about this, and what are the words that best describe the situation and circumstances?" The center of it all is that I am now a member of club that I never wanted to join: parents who have had to prepare their own childrens' funerals. The additional consideration is that the circumstances of the incident presents its own set of complications.
When the police investigatorswho have done an excellent jobfirst contacted me, they said that they were going to get justice for my son. If you don't know, my son made his transition while a passenger in a three-car automobile accident. He was the only passenger, the only non-driver who had his seat belt on, and the car he was in was "T-boned"he never regained consciousness upon impact.
I know by my faith that he is all right now. While I still terribly miss him, I fully appreciate the blessing that he was in my life, and how he made me a better person.
However, those intimal words of the police investigator of seeking justice for my son still haunt over and over. They have been the motivation for me to ponder this notion deeply in the context of my son and his life. Please don't get me wrong; he was no innocent. He lived a full but brief life. He went to places that most people twice of three times his age never went. He has seen things great and not-so-great. He has been the source of great pride, and times that are less comfortable.
Not many people, much less African-American young men, can claim that they grew up thinking going to the White House in Washington, D.C., and meeting the president and vice president of the United States, as well as civil-rights icons like Rosa Parks he did at least three times. Not many children can claim that they went Disney World and Universal Studios for their birthday four times. He liked to dress well and he did.
The fantastic doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital were quick to tell me that he had no drugs or alcohol in his system when he died, but that was not a statement of how he lived. He was looking for a job and had declared to me that after his birthdaywhich was just two weeks earlier, on Nov. 20that he was going to continue his pursuit of a hip-hop career but that he was going to get a job. He also had announced that he was getting married, and that he was stopping smoking and drinking.
Nathan liked to party and be with friends and he had lots of friends and he wanted to live more than whatever he had before. The words from that police investigator continue still ring loud: "seeking justice for my son." What does that look like? It certainly isn't having the driver of either car charged with killing him and feeding a system that too often fals justice and is more bent on revenge then restorative justice.
Justice for my son would look like this: Nathan, a 22-year-old Black gay man, was looking for job. Justice would be to find work and jobs for all Black LGBTQ youth who are seeking work, and to pay them an equitable, not just living, wage. That would be justice for my son. Nate wanted to get married to his boyfriend/fiancé. They had set the date for July 4, 2014, because then it would be legal and they could have fireworks.
Justice for Nate would be to expedite the enactment of Public Act 10 and have marriage equality now in Illinois. Nate was looking for a job, and needed to have his background expunged and sealed. Let's have and expungement fair for Black and LGBTQ people who need it in our community.
Before he passed, Nathan and I were talking about planning a pre-Valentine's Day event to celebrate the life of two of his friends who had recently passed away in September and October of 2013. They were both in their twenties and both died from complications of HIV/AIDS.
Let's have that party Feb. 7 and celebrate all three of their lives. At the event, we wanted everyone attending to know their HIV status. Nathan turned our home into a refuge for LGBTQ youth from around the city, asking me for a place for young people who had no homes or little family and limited resources to come and be a part of our family as well as a transition point. Let's provide a place for people in this position and give them a refuge in their own communities.
Finally, he was most proud of the idea of an LGBTQ community center within the Black community on the South or West side of the city of Chicago. Let's do thisif not for ourselves, then for real justice for my son.