Perfect Strangers, Best of Friends
I pray you receive this letter. My name is Beverly Powell, and I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. I'm writing to you because I have read a newspaper article regarding your husband's murder. It broke my heart when this happened, and I cried. ... I pray [Odendaal] is served justice in South Africa. God shall surely serve justice to him when he is dead. Here in the United States recently, a black man named James Byrd was also dragged behind a truck to his death. ... I cried my heart out over that death, too. I'm so sorry about your husband. I read in the newspaper that you said you would hate every white person you see. I am a white person. ...I have cried over these crimes, and my prayers are for an end to all racism. I can't even imagine how much pain your family must be going through. I ask you please to know that there are many white people who are not racists and are devastated by these crimes, and all racial hatred. So please can you find it in your heart not to hate us all? I'm sending also this gift of money, which is not much but is from my heart. I am a housecleaner (servant). ... I hope that it is helpful to you and your sons. God be with you.
She sent this reply on October 27, 2000. It read, in part:
The Beloved Beverly:
It is in great grace of God that I received your letter and gift that meant so much to me. ... Your condolences made me feel that I'm not alone. My sons were so happy to receive a letter from the States. It meant so much to them that even though their dad is no longer with them, they are not forgotten. ... Thanks once again. Maybe we will meet sometime, only heaven knows. I will always remember you. May God bless you. If possible may you please send me your picture and your family's. Note: ... I did not say I hated white people, I said I am scared of them. I love you despite the fact that you are white as long as you are human and not racist. Thanks once again. I hope justice shall prevail.