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Remembering My Friend, William Grant, for Valentine’s Day by Sherri Rosen

William Grant was a friend to many, and a very dear friend to me. William passed away in March 2014.

William, my friend, Salima and myself at one time were Interfaith Ministers at a place William had created in downtown NYC called Tribeca Spiritual Center. The 3 of us
were the dynamic trio that used to meet once every 2 weeks at a coffee shop in downtown Manhattan, right near Ground Zero, to plan the service for the following Sunday.
We welcomed all cultures, all religions, homeless folks. All who wanted to come.

I want to speak about when the 3 of us used to meet to plan the service. Salima would come very far from the upper west side of Manhattan to downtown and would usually be
late. William would travel from a Media Center he created for youth in an area of Brooklyn and it would be an simpler travel time for him. And myself! I am and was always early.
I lived in an area close by called The Financial District so it was a l5 min walk from my place. But I didn’t mind waiting, because I knew once we all 3 got together it would be a
fun time.

I used to joke with William and Salima and say that Salima and i were the backup sisters and William was the main event. In any
event, we would settle into a table I had seated myself at in the coffee shop and first order our supper and then William, Salima and myself would check in with one another
on how our week went. I remember both Salima and William were both supportive of me if I was having a problem or if I had a bad week. The three of us were all supportive
of one another. I remember William would always only order something light like soup or a salad because he was looking forward to going home to his wife, Cynthia, who came from New Orleans and would
always be making a wonderful Creole dish that was waiting for him when he arrived home.

I am sure we had hard times with one another. Sometimes not agreeing, sometimes setting up what the service would be and then coming into the service and having it
completely changed without William notifying any of us. But today I want to stay with all good stuff. After all Valentine’s Day is ahead of us and this is sharing the love I have
for William, Salima and for myself.

We were a wonderful trio. Salima was a professional opera singer and sometimes she would sing at the service and she had an amazing voice, and it was wonderful to
hear her when coming into the Center. She also had a young son who would sometimes come to the meetings that we would have. I had been an actress and loved to speak
in front of people so I usually would be what I called “the opening act” and then William was the main event always giving a beautiful sermon that everyone could relate to.

I remember I had a very bad time with the head of this Interfaith Center I was studying at and I confided in William and Salima about the situation and I remember receiving so much
support from both of them. The head of the Center had made a pass at me like he did with many many women in the past. I was so distraught about the situation but William and Salima
and some of my friends at the school supported me in protecting me and helping me to finish my studies at this Interfaith Center.

William was about 6′ 4″ and a very handsome man. Whenever he walked into a room people would take notice, especially the women. To this day, I don’t feel he was very comfortable
about getting so much attention with his looks, but with the 3 of us it was cool. We all felt safe with another. Salima, was a very beautiful black woman, and she always used to come
to the meetings with a different hair piece on and asked if we liked it. She took on a different persona with each of the hair pieces she wore. It was fun to watch. And myself, it’s very
hard to describe one self, but I guess you would have called me this beautiful white woman, who dressed funky, had bright red hair and a wonderful sense of humor-and that hasn’t
changed a bit.

It was a wonderful relationship. One that I will always cherish. The 3 of us were good together and we did good for ourselves and the community.

After the community disbanded about 6 or 7 years ago, I didn’t see William or Salima much. Missed them and what we accomplished together. I only hope as my life
continues that I do incorporate many of the things I learned from William and Salima and the work that I have done on myself. I am going to post a photo of William and myself,
but unfortunately I don’t have a photo of Salima, but she is here in spirit.

Sometimes I talk to William’s spirit and ask him for advice especially when things get difficult for me. I know that his spirit is always around and I am thankful that the 3 of us did such great
work together. I love you William, Salima and Sherri!!!!
400-Sherri Rosen RED - rectangular photo, enlarged  (400x533)

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 13th, 2015 at 6:51 am and is filed under African American, Friends and Colleagues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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