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23. From Fans to Family; A World Brought Together by Michael Jackson

"If I had a single flower for every time I think of you, I could walk forever in my garden" Claudia Ghandi

Can you believe it has already been one year since the passing of Michael Jackson? I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that this has been one of the most emotionally difficult years we have ever been through. It has been a long, hard road for us as we have tried to come to terms with the loss of someone so special. We have experienced every emotion under the sun, from anger to disgust, from sadness to love.

Brought together by an unspeakable tragedy, we have developed an unbreakable bond, because we relate to each other. When Michael passed away, we all experienced the same feelings of sadness and loss, so we understand each other. We can talk about our feelings with other fans, safe in the knowledge that we won’t be judged or ridiculed, as we so often are outside of our community. It has been a blessing to share that kind of a bond with so many other people.

We are no longer just individual fans of the world’s greatest entertainer. Now we are a family; a global, empowered family, brought together by one man. Like any family, we care when caring is needed. We encourage, when someone needs to be lifted up. We love, when someone needs to be loved.

We are a distinct group of people who believe in the power of love. We believe in treating people with dignity and respect and we believe in justice. Those beliefs have created a common purpose in all of us – to do justice for a man who experienced so much injustice. We have become united to reverse the effects of the worst character assassination in history. It’s that common purpose that gives us solidarity. It gives us strength in numbers and we have used that strength to be a positive force in achieving our goal.

Over the last year, we have re-lived many of the injustices done to him; giving us a small glimpse into the pain he must have felt, every moment of it tearing our hearts out. Many times it brought us to tears. Occasionally we became angry and other times we just felt sick with disgust.

We have protected when we felt protection was needed, opposed when we felt opposition was needed and taken a stand when we knew we were right. In the words of Michael Jackson, "There’s a time when you’re right and you know you must fight."

We have learned first-hand, that when we unite together and raise our voice as one, there’s nothing that can’t be done. It’s in those times of solidarity, that we achieved unity. When our strength in numbers is used in the right way, we have a great influence. That influence has been used to successfully stop a television program from airing, a book from being further distributed, and a tribute concert from taking place.

Although our unity in doing justice for Michael has brought some success, we haven’t been able to achieve that same solidarity toward getting justice for Michael. Here we are one year later, and still, no one has been held accountable in his death. It is frustrating, to say the least, but part of the frustration is that we are a family divided on this issue. There is a portion of the MJ Community who believes that Michael is still alive, therefore we have been unable to achieve that same sense of solidarity in getting justice.

I am not aware of the details behind the theory of a death hoax, so I cannot speak to that, but I am aware that some people believe he faked his death to save his life. If Michael Jackson really did have to take such an extreme measure as to fake his death just to survive, that in and of itself IS an injustice. Maybe we can achieve unity in this situation by realizing that either way, there are people who should be held accountable for what they did to Michael Jackson.

We may have different beliefs but we are still a family, a worldwide community. We’re growing every day because Michael not only touched lives while he was living; he continues to touch lives now. We’re all united by one truth, our love for Michael Jackson. Remember that truth because it’s what bonds us together forever.

If you want to see a visual representation of the growing size and strength of the MJ family, look to The Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait. Every single dot in the Portrait represents a fan somewhere in this world who is standing proud, faithful and true to Michael Jackson. It is a symbolic representation of unity.

Tribute Team Member Sophiane said something recently that beautifully speaks to the significance of fans turning into family: "Michael’s dream was to unite people around the world from different cultures and colors; he succeeded, look at the MJ Family - We are his dream!"

This month we’ve seen a heightened sense of awareness about how much the world is lost without this man. It has brought to the surface feelings of anger and sadness, because it’s a tragedy that should never have happened. Michael Jackson should still be here with us.

To the Jackson Family: We think of you as our extended family. We feel your pain, your frustration, and your sense of loss. We offer you our love and support, in an effort to give you strength, as you move through the anniversary of Michael’s passing.

It is a time for us all to come together, to remember and reflect on the life, the love, and the legacy of our most beloved family member, Michael Jackson.

On behalf of all the team members on The Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait, we would like to thank you for your love and dedication in making this the largest and most respected Tribute to Michael Jackson in the world. We have become that because of you, and with your help, we will succeed in uniting 1,000,000 fans to complete Michael’s portrait.

We will always remember, we will always care and we will always be there.

Michael, we love you and we miss you!

Linda Higgins

Director of Community Development





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