In Memory of...
“Like any parent the last thing you expect is to outlive your child.”
On January 24, 1981, I sped towards the 580 freeway, as Bertha Willis lie reclined in my Toyota Hatchback expecting my first child. As I entered the freeway, my daughter—so eager for life—began to make her entrance into the world. As her mother began to panic, I tried to remain calm as I drove the car with one hand, while pulling on my daughter’s head with the other hand. Most of her body was still in her mother's womb. Then suddenly, LoEshé leapt from her mother's womb on to the floor of the car. Both of us were excited and stunned that our child had been born in the car on the way to the hospital. When I first gazed at this wonder of nature, I was so awestruck that I missed the exit to take us to the hospital.
Then I really panicked and prayed to God to please let my baby live and to not let her die in this car. She did live that night, and for 16 years and 9 months we were all blessed by a bright, beautiful, fun-loving human being whose name really described her. LoEshé in Ibo-Nigerian means Love Life in English.
It is safe to stay that on her brief stay on this planet LoEshé Adanma (daughter of beauty) absolutely loved life to the fullest. During LoEshé's junior year in high school, she was a conflict resolution mediator who often negotiated peaceful settlements among students from different races. Her ability to communicate and lead her contemporaries made her liked by all.
In the summer of 1997, a friend of hers was murdered and she was deeply affected by the crime. She expressed to me that she wanted to start a youth organization to create plays that speak out against violence. I was so impressed by her willingness to take the pain she was feeling due to the loss of her friend, and try to and make a difference. Unfortunately, after leaving her job at McDonalds where she had received her first paycheck, she was murdered as an innocent bystander in a shooting across the street from her high school.
Like any parent the last thing you expect is to outlive your child. I was devastated by her tragic murder and I still struggle to live on without her, as all parents who have lost children do. However, I was compelled by her triumphant spirit to make her wishes come to fruition, and thus the LoveLife Foundation has been serving inner-city youth in the Bay Area for nearly 7 years.
The LoveLife Foundation's Arts and Media Training Academy is an after school program that trains youth in radio and television broadcasting, as well as in live theater. Several youth broadcast monthly on KPOO radio and segments on Hard Knock Radio on KPFA. In addition, we produce plays that are written and performed by youth that affirm life and speak out against violence. The foundation's after school program also has a homework center, and one-on-one mentoring.
LoEshé and her dream live on in the hopes of youth who learn and benefit from our program. Some former students have gone on to graduate from college and are making a difference in their various chosen professions. Thousands of citizens in the Bay Area and others around the country have come to know the LoveLife Foundation and the work we do. The Foundation has been lauded from the floor of congress, and even in Africa.
I feel blessed to have contributed to such a beautiful, positive young lady who continues to enrich my life daily. We hope that you will support our organization as we reach out to youth on a regular basis and try to get them to see the value of human life, and to value their own lives. Thank you for the opportunity to present the LoveLife Foundation to you. On behalf of my late daughter LoEshé, I leave you with the Foundation's motto: “Love Life, Don't Take Life.”
Donald E. Lacy, Founder/Executive Director