On Father's Day I received a piece of very sad news. My good friend Daviel Wright had passed away from complications with his diabetes. The news came as quite a shock to me. Daniel was a young man and I had always known him to be fit and healthy. Granted, I hadn't seen Daniel in the past year because I had moved away from Long Beach, but it was still hard for me to understand why this had happened.
I met Daniel when I was the youth program coordinator for the Gay & Lesbian Center of Greater Long Beach. Daniel was my first volunteer. Daniel was a very light-hearted person who was always silly and whimsical around the kids. And oh, did those queerlings love him! They loved playing board games together (Rumicube was their favorite), and they loved joking around. They especially loved going to Daniel's house during the summer for our monthly BBQ's and pool parties. Daniel allowed the kids to be themselves and there wasn't a day that went by that he didn't let them know that they were loved.
Daniel was one of my most reliable volunteers. If I needed an extra set of hands because someone had called in sick, I could call Daniel and know that he would be there in a heartbeat. If I needed extra chaperones because we were going on a field trip, Daniel was my go-to guy. We took the kids sailing and horseback riding together. We took them to the aquarium and to the museums. And we marched in the LA and Long Beach Pride parades two years in a row. If there was fun to be had, Daniel would be there!
My favorite memory of Daniel is how he dressed up for the Halloween dance. He came as "gay-lien." He painted his entire head green, hewore these goofy, green ears, and he had on this tacky daisy-print suit. The kids just went nuts when they saw him! And that was the essence of Daniel.
I will miss Daniel. Although I am moving back to Long Beach soon, it somehow will never be the same. I'll never run into Daniel again at Hot Java or Aki Sushi. I can't count the number of times we both went there separately and ended up eating together because we bumped into one another. And I'll never hear him laughing or see him playing with the kids.
I will never understand why God chooses to take people when she does. Why take Daniel, who was generous, and loving, and kind? Why not take someone who beats their wife or embezzles money? I have to believe that God has a purpose and that she must have taken Daniel because his work here was done. And in my opinion, the most important thing any of us can do is make queer kids feel that they are loved for who they are. Daniel certainly did that.
I thank God for blessing my life by introducing me to Daniel. And I know that our kids are grateful, too. So thank you, Daniel, for filling our little chosen family with so much love. You will be missed.