In the last month I have lost three friends. The latest was Karega Hart, a long time activist who resided in Oakland. He lost his battle with MS and additional medical complications.
There is something very overwhelming about losing three friends in the course of one month. It is not even like being on an emotional roller coaster. Rather, it is more like being in emotional free fall.
Karega was a wonderful human being. A very smart, low-keyed activist and educator, he truly believed in the struggle for social justice. He was someone who always had a smile on his face (if he liked you!) and rarely complained, including about his deteriorating physical condition.
I met Karega more than twenty years ago on a visit to the Bay Area. He invited me to his home to discuss politics. We became close over the years and worked together on various projects, including but not limited to the Black Radical Congress. There were several things that always struck me about Karega. He would call things as he saw them. He would think before he spoke, and, as a result, when he spoke, he always had something to say. And he followed through on what he committed to do. He was no slacker.
It was difficult watching his condition worsen, albeit over a fairly long period of time. Upon news of his death i wrote to some friends that there was a way in which i realized that i had been engaged in magical thinking. I knew that he was ill and i knew that it was worsening. But there was something about Karega and his fighting spirit that fooled me into believing that the brother could continue the good fight indefinitely.
Karega needed to rest. He had fought the good fight and made us all proud. He was a great friend and a dedicated father. It is not just that he will be missed; it is the awareness that many of us have that he had a soul that was irreplaceable.