The last year has been a tough one for Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Brooks. This past February, his nephew shot and killed his son-in-law. But in his grief and anger, Brooks didn't waiver in his convictions about crime and punishment. Instead of spouting the rhetoric of revenge that so often follows violent crime, Brooks made it known that he forgave his nephew and would continue to offer his love and support. He asserted that the death was the result of the quick availability of guns and society's apparent unwillingness to work out differences peacefully. But he didn't grandstand. He continued to quietly offer support to other victims of violent crimes, showing up at strangers' funerals without issuing press releases. He continues to visit prisoners around the state, hoping to sway at least a few of them toward a better way of life. And at City Council meetings, Brooks consistently raises his voice in support of poor people -- even though his concerns are too frequently overrun by the business at hand, which typically favors the wealthier interests in our community.