Acknowledgments + Appreciation

My deepest gratitude to all the villagers who helped “midspouse” this baby into being.

To Marvin K. White for helping me crystallize the baby’s name.

To Mickey Branca, Andrés Manzon-Branca, and Theresa “Lola” Manzon for your daily lessons in how families connect lovingly, deeply, and compassionately.

To G. Winston James and Len Richardson for your willingness to help fill in gaps in our memories.

To Kevin Ramos for keeping the candle burning.

To Jeff Lee, dear Alpha Phi Alpha brother and running buddy of Bert’s, for fielding an unending string of text-email-messenger inquiries, and for testifying and naming names.

To Ivy Kwan Arce, Nicholas Chesla, Vicente Garcia, Michele Karlsberg, Aimy Manzon Ko, Michelle Nemer, Ron Nieberding, Avi Rose, and Jean-Baptiste Sankara for offering advice and generous feedback.

To Eileen Blumenthal, Rich Snowdon, Brandon Sturdivant, Sr., David Shih-Chun Wu, Louise Dunlap and the Saturday Writing Group, and trainees in the Coaching for Transformation and Coaching for Community Transformation cohorts for ‘calling out my power’ at critical junctures along the way.

To Susan Raffo for your deep caring and enduring belief in this vision, for being the earliest adopter, and for your partnership with me and Bert a quarter century ago.

To Bert’s goddaughter Adunni AA Hall-Modeste and Michael’s cousin Alexander J. Alvarez, for honoring him so eloquently with the truth of your words and the vibrancy of your lives.

To my queeroes, esteemed “brothers-in-law,” Kevin McGruder, Robert E. Penn, Allen Luther Wright, and Bil Wright. I am grateful to have been connected to each of you through Bert, and to be inspired by your ongoing work in the world.

To Ummi Modeste, for channeling and stoking your love for BeeNoSpace, which watered What I Miss? from its conception; for ‘getting’ each other through spoken and signed languages; and for always keeping the children front and center.

To Joseph Quisol, for your aesthetic, your clutch skills, and easeful partnership. You are a rock star in more ways than one. Our intergenerational collaboration has brought a sweet and unexpected healing energy of its own. Maraming Gracias!

To Nadia Wynter, for jumping into the proverbial deep end with us in ways big and small; for bringing your skill, your groundedness, and your joy to this endeavor. Your invaluable chiropractic adjustments allowed this project’s qi to flow.

To Colin Robinson, godfather of What I Miss?, for tossing me life preserver after life preserver to help bring this project to shore, for encouraging my voice in the mix, and for your gift for locating us in history and reminding us that we are all worth remembering.

To my co-curator, Sheilah Mabry, for showing up and showing out for all of our most blessed moments — the homegoings, the arrivals, the unions, the highs and lows of our day-to-day; for coaching me on and off the ice across multiple time zones; for our ongoing witnessing, honoring, and championing of each other and of what truly matters. As B.Michael wrote in Cousins: “I thank the Goddess for her blessings and for my cousin Sheilah.”

Building Peace,


Johnny Manzon-Santos
11 November 2019