Whenever occurs a death of a public figure or a public death, manifold are the civic expressions of sympathy summoning “our thoughts and prayers” and “our condolences for all who knew and loved” the deceased.
As a prayerful and pitying person, I do not question sincerity of the speakers. Still, as one who long ago internally ingested the spirit of the declaration, “Each man’s death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind,” I grieve for all who die, known and unknown. And I sorrow especially when the cause of death is at the heartless hands of institutional oppression and indifference.
© 2023 PRA
Illustration: John Donne; portrait by Isaac Oliver (1565-1617)
 From Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII (1623), John Donne (1572-1631)