A letter to the family of Suzanne Eaton

Dear Eaton family,

As you are aware, grieving the loss of a loved one is the most painful experience you can go through. You find yourself displaying an extraordinary smile that lights up a room, yet you are broken on the inside and your soul cries out in the dark. Please remember that although you are broken you are not defeated because “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 ESV).

As you prepare to sit through the trial of your beloved Suzanne Eaton, the language will be foreign, your faces will be displayed in the media daily, the proceedings will play out like a movie scene and may even be delayed, you may feel isolated during the passionate exchanges between the attorneys which are very different from court proceedings in the US, and justice may ultimately not look like what you would expect. It has always been said, when challenged, stay the course. “In between a promise and the fulfillment of the promise is the unknown, but if you trust in the promise giver, you will not be discouraged by what happens in between.”

Sadly, injustice is a global disease, and one my family knows too well. On July 6 and July 7, 2017, we found ourselves caught between two different time zones, two different cultures, two different languages, two different countries, two different justice systems, and the harsh reality caused by the pain of love vs hate when we received the worst news of our lives, that our 22-year-old son Bakari Henderson had been brutally beaten to death publicly in the street by a mob of Serbian and Greek men for being asked to take a selfie with a Serbian woman. Yes, it is easy to look at the world today and feel discouraged seeing how fear fuels oppression and incites rage and hate. We cannot continue to be desensitized by what now seems normalized. Please do not sit idly hoping this storm will pass, as James Baldwin said, “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Know that what you see in the courtroom does not necessarily represent the heart of the people. I am sure there are many compassionate Greek people hoping justice is served and our family stands with you as you seek justice for Mrs Eaton’s murder. We are expected to return to Greece for the fifth time in November as we continue fighting for justice for our beloved Bakari and are praying my cries are answered and that justice prevails for them both, proving love always trumps hate.

Continued blessings and much love,

Jill Henderson (Mother of Bakari)

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