Ten years ago, on Aug. 11, 1999, my neighbor saved my life.
I suffered a heart attack, and someone from the Northampton Street neighborhood appeared on the scene and gave me CPR. His name was Chuck. He kept me alive until the paramedics arrived.
I think about Chuck every day. I don’t know his last name and was never able to thank him.
So this year, I’ll be thinking about the 02118 community and being very thankful to a neighbor I didn’t even know, who made a difference to me, as well as to the nurses and doctors at Boston Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who have taken such good care of me.
Lucia Whalen was the American woman who saw two men trying to enter a house without using keys and called the Cambridge police for assistance. It is now clear to all that her intent was to protect the homeowner and the neighborhood, regardless of race. Some initially felt that she called the police because the two men were black, while others felt that she may have done it to ridicule Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who happens to be the black man she knows actually lives in the house.
Further investigation showed that Whalen did not know the race or the identity of the two men trying to get into the house. She was solely concerned about protection. Despite the vast media coverage and the involvement of President Obama, she still summoned the courage to put her face on television to state her position in the matter.
Whalen emphasized that she never mentioned race on the 911 call, which has been proven, and also stated that she never mentioned race to Sgt. James Crowley when he arrived at the scene. It was Crowley that brought race into the issue in his report of the case. It was Crowley who went to the scene with a mindset of “possible black criminals,” and it may have affected how he did his job when he finally met Gates at the house.
I admire many white Americans like Lucia Whalen for serving America diligently and daily in very simple ways. She did not only try to protect her neighbor’s house, but refused to protect a white police officer, who most likely erred in his judgment while performing his duty. Some white Americans, who may put their race before the unity and progress of their country, may have kept quiet or taken the blame just to make sure that bad policing still exists to put blacks in their place. But Lucia Whalen came out in nobility to show her good citizenship.
I stand in salutation to Lucia Whalen for being a true American by showing us that America deserves to be a 21st-century society, colorblind when it comes to truth and in fairness.