As I have shared numerous times in my letters to you, every so often we experience a significant moment here at Diversity Richmond. Last Sunday we experienced a moment that will live with me forever. Many of us knew Ryland Roane, the well-respected HIV/AIDS educator who had earned a national reputation for his ability to humanize HIV-disease while helping others learn how to live with dignity and hope. Ryland died August 13 from leukemia after only a few days of illness.

Ryland's mother chose to have his memorial service at Diversity Richmond and we were humbled and honored. Last Sunday a large gathering of folks came together to celebrate Ryland's life and a true celebration it was. Co-workers, family and childhood friends shared fond and sometimes humorous memories of a man who touched and changed the lives of countless numbers of people.

His pastor, the Rev. Dr. A. Lincoln James spoke lovingly about a man he called friend. If I have ever heard music by angels, it was Sunday. The Trinity Baptist Church choir sent messages above that all is right with the world.

As I sat in the back of the room, I thought, "Even from the grave, he works his stuff." The hall was filled with hundreds of people who had never ever imagined being at Diversity Richmond. But once, again, Ryland Roane bridged the gap and brought us all together as one, as community.

My words fail, but Sunday was yet another signal to me that Diversity Richmond is on the right path. Sometimes we mess up, but our good work and efforts to build and support a community, one of inclusion and justice, is what we are all about.

Thanks, again. Ryland. Once again you did what you do best. You helped us see the good in us.


Bill Harrison

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