Most of you who knew him, whether personally or professionally, and/or the non-profit black film organization he created, likely have already heard the news of his passing on Monday, March 19th, after battling pancreatic cancer for 2 years.
I've known this brother for some 6 years, working with him in some capacity for about 3 of those years; unquestionably one of the gentlest, kindest souls I've known in my lifetime. A ridiculously hard worker who shared a similar passion and many of the same goals for black cinema as I did, which fueled the relationship we had.
It's terribly sad to see him leave us so young, and just as the organization he gave birth to and managed for many years (Act Now Foundation) was really beginning to hit its stride, with an annual black film festival (New Voices In Black Cinema) recently wrapping up its second year, an ongoing quartely screening series at BAMCinematek here in Brooklyn, New York, and other initiatives for both screen and stage.
While there was certainly a mutual respect for the other's efforts, my one big regret is that I never really got to know him as personally as I should have; our conversations, whenever we got together, or spoke on the phone, were almost always focused on our various black film-related endeavors – the business and such – after some initial quick inquiries about how the other was doing, followed by just as quick responses to those inquiries; and then we'd dive into business matters.
It all might sound redundant to say at this point, even though I think it's worth repeating, since we tend to forget these things when we're all caught up in this thing called life – if you appreciate someone and/or the work that they do, let them know that while they're still here with us; tell them and do so often. It's very hard work what Aaron (and others like him) do and continue to do, often toiling away in silence. Be vocal about your appreciation, and, whenever possible, act on it.
Aaron wasn't necessarily one to embrace the spotlight, and I can't say that he sought it; instead, he was content doing the work and seeing his work produce results; and thankfully, he lived long enough to see and enjoy (most of the time) some of those results.
The work that he did for many years set a solid foundation for the organization he built to blossom in coming years; and blossom it will.
Aaron's family has scheduled a memorial service for this Friday, March 23rd, 2012 at Emmanuel Baptist Church, on 279 Lafayette & St. James) in Brooklyn, NY.
Viewing starts at 10am, with service following at 11am.
You've heard it all before, but I'll say it anyway – no matter how much you plan, you never know what life will bring you on any given day; so live your life as fully and richly as you can.
Aaron and the work that he did affected countless lives, and for that reason, and others, he will most certainy be missed.
May you rest in peace Mr Aaron Ingram.