When I learned of Chadwick Boseman’s illness, I realized that his gift to us was not just brilliant work, but an inspiring dedication to his profession.
Like many of you, I was devastated to learn of Chadwick Boseman’s passing in early September. I have admired him for a long time—for his work, for his strength of character, and for what he meant to the many young people who looked up to him in the role of Black Panther.
To me, he represented kindness, community, and courage, but to many others, he was a literal superhero. And for young Black children, he was a long-overdue mass-market role model, a symbol of justice and strength who might look more like them than the rest of the superhero pantheon did.
Dedication to the Practice
Learning of Chadwick’s struggle with colon cancer added another facet to my admiration. He worked during his illness and treatment with confidence, grace, and humility. I believe that it is important to acknowledge that what he gave us these last four years, he gave us under the most difficult personal conditions imaginable.
Thinking about this kind of dedication to your craft inspires me just as much as Chadwick’s acting does. I believe that it’s important to dedicate yourself fully to what you do and that one of the ways that we can best honor the fortune of our talents and opportunity is to use our gifts for as long as we are able.
Personal and Professional
This is a loss that hits close to home. Chadwick was only five years older than I am, seemingly in immaculate health, and still in the early days of what seemed sure to be a long and brilliant career. But, as life has a way of reminding us, nobody is immortal—and even superheroes can’t prevent the future from turning in on us in ways we don’t foresee.
I personally am reminded to take care of those I love, to value what I have, and to serve my community by practicing my profession to the best of my ability. For Chadwick, that meant inspiring a generation of young people to believe in their own power and potential. For me, it means doing everything I can to help my clients, many of whom are dealing with personal struggles or have been made vulnerable by an unexpected turn of events.
Honoring a Legacy
It may not be superhuman (or anything close to it!) but I believe practicing the law well and serving my clients with compassion is the best thing that I can do to honor Chadwick’s memory.
And after all, although we can’t control exactly what happens to us or how much time we have to make our mark, we can all do our best to live genuine lives that leave a legacy of decency and kindness—that’s what Chadwick showed me, and I’m committed to living up to that example.
With humility and gratitude,