Wednesday, March 1, 2017
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By Jeorald Pitts/Lil Tone Tone
Published August 29, 2011

Today I am using the traditional English language by utilizing nouns, verbs and adjectives as a brush to paint a Portrait of Remembrance and the celebration of the life of our young brother Michael Buchanan.

In 2005, Michael Buchanan, also referred to as Mike was shot and killed in the mean streets of Compton. I know from the broad strokes I am already using to paint this picture of remembrance some may be thinking ” Here goes another story about a gang shooting”. However, this would a distorted view of the portrait. You see, Mike was never a gang member and had never been in any trouble. According to police reports, the callous and heartless suspected gunman was. Michael was in Compton attending a prom party for the cousin of his best friend where he became the unfortunate victim of “Mistaken Identity.”

Michael left an honorable catalog of accomplishment for other young men to follow. He recently graduated from Narbonne High School, where he played football and was a stand off defensive end and excellent student.

His loved ones; peers and friend did not have to ransack their memories when asked to say something good about Michael. An instant avalanche of goodness rolled out of their mouths. He had a very colorful personality. He was a great son, grandson and a big brother to his other siblings. He was very intelligent, charismatic, respectful and well mannered. He had integrity. He was loyal, compassionate and even though he came from a successful family, Mike was humble. He was well grounded and all around phenomenal individual with unlimited potential and a future of imminent possibilities. There is even a community center named in his honor.

The hazy drop back of this Portrait of Remembrance is not just that this young man’s life was taken at such a young age, but the fact that he was killed 23 days before his 18th birthday and one day before he was to leave to college on a scholarship. An institution where he would harness his potential for a better future.

Michael’s favorite metaphor was “Born to be hated. Dying to be loved.” This quote would eventually become true to life for him, as he had over 2000 people who attended his funeral ceremony to send him off with love. Thank you for viewing this Portrait of the Remembrance and Celebration of the life of Michael Buchanan, August 26, 1987-August 3, 2005.

I would like to leave you with a few colorful words. Practice the art of gratitude when you feel grief from a lost loved one. Appreciate all the time you did spent with them, because you cannot feel grief and gratitude at the same time. Remember, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Michael Buchanan will be missed and remembered as he continues his spiritual journey. Happy Birthday Michael! We will continue to paint your portrait of remembrance.

Jeorald Pitts/Lil Tone is the fonder of the non-profit org. C.H.A.N.G.E.S. (Community Helping Adolescence Needing Guidance Education & Support. And author of To Band or Not To Bang-A book of questions. Now available at your preferred online bookstores. Mr. Pitts can be reached at


Categories: Op-Ed

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