This is what happens in life. People come in and out of it. Some of those people stay longer with you. And some of those people drift away, for whatever the reason. Yet you can never deny that some people who enter your life and then eventually leave it, still leave a lasting impact on you and make you a better person.
Such is the case of Louis Pagan. Louis was a friend. He died over the weekend at 41 years old. I am still in shock.
I got to know Louis in early 2009 via Twitter, when Twitter was cool. It was an exciting time for social media, especially for Latinos who were started to play in the space. From my interactions with him and with a small group of people who would eventually achieve great things, I saw a loving and giving person. Louis was the best. Louis was New York. Louis was an hermano.
The first time I met Louis in real life (I had already known him for months online), it was over a cup of coffee on a sunny spring East Side day in a Manhattan Starbucks. He shared with me his idea of creating an organization called Latinos in Social Media and even asked me if he thought the name LATISM resonated. No brainer, I told Louis, where do I sign up?
What Louis and others accomplished that year was phenomenal. LATISM was special, and it still is. Although I missed the first LATISM conference in New York, I was honored when Louis asked me to come down from Boston and speak at a LISTA conference later that year. The conference will always be one of the best ones I have ever spoken at because it was at a time when social media was still trying to figure itself out. It felt like the future, and it just proved to me that Louis was a visionary. It was also the first time I got to meet dear friends like Ana Roca Castro, Lili Gil, and Claudia Goffman. I also met the fabuloso Eduardo Gonzalez Loumiet there as well (who passed on the pics in this post to me). All these people are like family to me, and that was all Louis who made that happen.
That night I also got to meet Louis’ wife, and I could instantly see a very loving and beautiful couple that cared for each other and their family. It pains me to think how she is feeling now, and I have no doubt that the Latino social media community will do all it can to help Louis’ family. It is the least we can do, for all that Louis did for us.
Even though that was the last time I ever saw Louis in person because we chose different paths (we still connected online), I will never forget those times. They were simpler, less complicated, full of promise and potential. Louis had a sparkle in his eye, and a passion that few can ever match.
Yes, he sparked a movement. A real authentic movement that is bigger than all of us. Without Louis’ idea, LATISM would never be here. Imagine that. I can’t.
Peace to you, hermano.
It’s funny, but Louis’ last tweet says, “Beat that!” He was never one to brag about what he did or how many lives he touched, but yeah, “Beat that!” is perfect. Don’t think I can ever “Beat that!”, but with Louis as an inspiration, I will try as hard as I can. ABRAZOS, Louis.
— Louis Pagan (@LouisPagan) February 4, 2013