by j. brotherlove
For some reason I wasn’t going to post this. I process death slowly and strangely. But it’s been on my mind and it’s important; not just to me.
I have to acknowledge a friend and mentor of mine, Earnest Hite, Jr., who died tragically in a car accident on January 14, 2008. He was a prevention coordinator with BEHIV.
I was in my late teens figuring out my identity in Chicago when I met Earnest and joined Image Plus, a group he co-founded for young gay and bisexual black men. He was one of the first positive role models I had and a surrogate father to many others. Through example, he and his partner at the time, Leon White, taught me that black men could have long-lasting, loving relationships and the importance of inter-generational dialogue.
Those early days of “activism” colored how I look at the world and is one reason why I still publish this blog even when many days, I don’t feel like anybody is resonating with my words. Thankfully, I learned early that people do pay attention; just not always right away.
Earnest was easy to talk to and always willing. I sought his advice on a number of issues although, as a “youngun”, I didn’t always follow it. He stayed involved in so many things and touched so many people. It’s going to take awhile for the word to reach everyone who knew him (another reason I am posting this). His dancing eyes, big smile and wicked sense of humor will be missed.
So sorry about your friend.
I knew Earnest from Mochigan City, IN. Although I only knew him for a brief time, he touched my life. He will truely be missed.
I am one of Earnest’s first cousins. If you would like a tri-fold rememberance, let me know and I will forward one to you via email.
ssmithro [at hotmail dot com ]
My heart goes out to his family and the entire black gay community for losing an admirable man.
I am sorry for your lost. The influence Mr. Hite has had on you shows. Trust me. When one has that kind of noble and edifying influence on another human being, their life and light will be missed. Then, somehow you carry his light foreward by being a good influence on other brothers in a postive way whatever age they may be.
To his family and friends and those in general his life touched, my heart goes out to you all.
My deepest sympathy regarding loss of your mentor & friend. Thank you for honoring his memory and sharing the positive influence he has had on young Black men; may it spark a light inside others to continue in his footsteps.
I am devastated to learn only this morning of the untimely death of my friend and colleague Earnest. Earnest and I Co Chaired the Chicago Coalition for Black Lesbians and Gays. He was instumental in starting the BROTHERRS Project, where he worked with me as a Health Educator. He will be missed. I will always remember is quiet demeanor and positive attitude.
My condolences to his family and partner.
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