Detroit consultant Marlowe Stoudamire, a community leader and founder of Butterfly Effect Detroit, died Tuesday due to complications from COVID-19. He was friends with Detroit Today’s host Stephen Henderson. The following is Henderson’s remembrance of Stoudamire, delivered on-air.
Listen to Stephen Henderson reflect on community leader Marlowe Stoudamire.
I have been saying “good day” at the top of each edition of Detroit Today lately, rather than hello, as a way of acknowledging that each day we can gather here, each day we can connect with each other here, is indeed, a good day. By definition.
But today, there’s someone I knew who won’t be able to do that.
Marlowe Stoudamire was a consultant and tireless advocate for Detroit, and someone I counted as a friend, who died yesterday from coronavirus-related complications.
He’s the first person I know to lose his life from this. I doubt he’ll be the last.
“The vicious mix of sadness and anger and helplessness that I feel right now – well, it is just going to be a prominent part of the human condition for some time.”
And I know for you, the listeners, this same narrative is playing out, and will continue to play out, for a period of time that none of us can define.
To say I’m shocked and stunned and deeply saddened by what happened to Marlowe seems feeble and insufficient. But I am all of those things. And right now, it’s hard to come up with any more words to describe my own feelings.
Loss is always hard.
But senseless loss is even harder. And senseless loss that claims someone who used his life to lift up a city and its people – well, it’s unfathomable.
In Detroit, let’s face it, even during normal times, we shoulder senseless loss all the time. Our violence, our extreme poverty, the lack of opportunity – they all steal from us too, and we manage to figure a way forward.
“I find myself wishing for more words, something to suggest, some way to make this tremendous blow softer, or more manageable.”
But this is another dimension of that. A virulent outbreak that no one predicted, and that caught so many unprepared.
Anyone who knew Marlowe knew how much he loved our city and the people in it, and how much he was dedicated to celebrating the good and powerfully inspiring parts of our community. Of making sure that people all over the country, and all over the world, knew of and respected what’s great about Detroit.
The Human Condition
This virus had no right to take that from us. It had no right to take him from his family, or his friends. It had no right to steal, the way it did, a man who helped make this community whole.
But that story is playing out all over, for all of us, in some way. And the vicious mix of sadness and anger and helplessness that I feel right now – well, it is just going to be a prominent part of the human condition for some time.
I find myself wishing for more words, something to suggest, some way to make this tremendous blow softer, or more manageable.
I don’t know what that would look like, though. I don’t have words that can be any kind of salve for what’s happening. I don’t imagine anyone does.
The best I can do, maybe that any of us can do, is continue to take care, continue to greet each new day as a good one, and to hope that something better will return.