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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

The heart in retrospect

She did it again. Ruth Berning, that goddess of everything that is considered fit to be consumed by the humble masses at Adult Day Health, has once again unknowingly invaded my most private moments where few dare to tread, and it all began through the morning copy of The Spokesman-Review. For you see, each morning as soon as Ruth takes charge to welcome us to yet another day, she always reads a few articles aloud from the morning paper, mostly to remind us where we are in the world. Typically the morning news is selectively uplifting, positive in every way and devoid of any sad tidings, for that is Ruth's laurel which she wears well.


Last Friday, although the day began as usual, Ruth began reading a Spokesman-Review piece written by Eli Francovich about Ava Sharifi, a 17 year-old student who attends Lewis and Clark High School who recently gave a speech before the entire student body about Islamiphobia. Ms. Sharifi has a working understanding of the impact of race hatred and discrimination for although she is an American citizen, born in Miami, Florida, her parents are both Iranian.


The point of Ava's speech was exquisitely simple: “We are all human. No one is subhuman.”


Most times when Ruth is reading the news, she has to pause and politely ask one (or more) of the compulsives who errantly repeat anything they happen to be thinking at the time to please be quiet. This happens frequently, but no one mentions it.


However, when Ruth was halfway through reading the story about Ava, she broke out into tears, her voice breaking, for which she made a contrite apology. You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium. Not one of the compulsive mumblers said one word.


Now, a day later, I can hear Ruth's voice breaking, and still see the tears in her eyes. In retrospect, as I read the article in full and listen to Ava's speech located at my eyes are as filled as were Ruth's, and I am very proud of her and very glad that Ava's speech found such a warm nurturing heart.

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.