Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III was set to graduate from Bowie State University this week. He’d have started his career as a military officer.
Instead, there was an empty seat at the ceremony, draped with his gown.
Lieutenant Collins was murdered just weeks before graduation in a senseless attack police are investigating as a hate crime. The alleged killer, Sean Urbanski, has alleged ties to an explicit white supremacist group. But while there’s plenty to discuss about the murder, about radicalized white men, about the thin line between hate speech and hate crime, memorials for Collins have all focused on his life.
“As we stand here today, let us remember Lieutenant Collins, not just for the way his life was abruptly ended, but also for the gratitude, beauty, smiles, integrity, and excellence with which he lived his life,” said his friend at one memorial service.
“You had a wealth of knowledge, a wealth of kindness and a wealth of love. And for that you will always be remembered,” said another.
This killing demands rage, change, moral convictions and vigilance against white supremacy. But it also demands mourning. It demands remembrance. And these past few days, that’s what Lieutenant Collins inspired.
(Photo of vigil for Richard W. Collins III. Courtesy of The Diamondback)