After Abby’s death, I spent that year guest lecturing at various colleges and high schools across the state — sharing with students Abby’s dreams and aspirations. HE was supposed to be a teacher, not me, or so I thought.
Well wishes came in from all over the world. Even Nelson Mandela wrote to me expressing his condolences. He actually responded to a letter I had written to him. You see, after Abby’s death, I started The Abby Tree Foundation — which was a tree planting initiative to remember victims of violence. A tree still stands at Buffalo State College, which is where Abby attended school at the time of his murder. Who would have thought that going off to school would result in the end of a life?
Needless to say, the reporter in me came out and allowed me to remove my emotions, and "report," my brother’s story. It also gave my parents a chance to grieve and not worry about the justice system, which worked. The murderer is in prison for a long time.
After the lectures and the school visits, teaching just seemed to be the natural transition for me. My classrooms became my mini-newsrooms. My students were (are) writers, reporters, researchers, fact checkers and objective viewers. With each subject, I was able to integrate elements of journalism which resulted in the students learning using the tools reporters use.
Tomorrow I will conclude this glimpse inside my life and conclude with how I got here, at SLJ.