It's something that I can do."
"I knew I had to come."
"This is a way to give back."
The hundreds of New Yorkers who came to donate blood for Betty Shabazz, who was burned in a fire police say was set by her grandson, Malcolm, had one thing in common: They wanted to do what they could for the widow of Malcolm X, even those who knew little about her. Many said they admired her strength in the face of the many challenges in her life.
The response contradicts a too-common perception of big-city dwellers as isolated, even uncaring. On the contrary, like the Midwesterners and others who reached out to help flood victims this past spring, these New Yorkers demonstrated that they're there when needed. Waiting time was up to two hours, but few donors left. Even those who were eventually turned away said they were glad they had come.
The show of support was a tribute to "a good woman," as so many of the donors referred to Dr. Shabazz. It also was an indication of the goodness of people, city and country folk alike.