Even now I get a lump in my throat recalling the time John Sentamu sat overnight with the coffin of murdered seven-year old Katie Rough ahead of her funeral.
It was three years ago and Katie’s parents Paul and Alison had had their family torn apart by her death.
Describing the UK’s first black Archbishop as “their rock”, they explained how his support had helped them to cope.
“I thought she shouldn’t be alone,” said Sentamu back then, as he explained why he’d sat with Katie “from about eight in the evening until seven in the morning”.
Sentamu has always retained widespread respect. And yet I thought long and hard about whether to even include that story in this piece.
I shouldn’t have to cite it as a qualifying factor in the 71-year-old receiving an automatic peerage after his retirement as Archbishop of York in June.
The brutal truth, however, is that Sentamu’s disgraceful treatment is a powerful metaphor for what so many good, qualified black men and women are still going through – even in this age of supposed enlightenment.
Sentamu’s predecessors as Archbishops were made peers and allowed to continue sitting in the House of Lords.
However Downing Street vetoed his elevation, they said, to keep numbers in the House of Lords down.
Had social media not howled it’s disapproval, they’d have pulled it off too.
David Davis, the former Conservative cabinet minister, tweeted: “Number 10 has made a mistake in not ennobling John Sentamu… It cannot claim it needs to limit the size of the Lords whilst elevating Boris’s brother.”
Sentamu’s successor Stephen Cottrell tweeted his concern that “whether it be through negligence or intent, my predecessor has not been given the peerage that has been the custom for many years.”
No 10 has since backtracked, claiming “a delay due to a procedural hold-up”. Believe that and I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.
And yes, you read correctly earlier: Jo Johnson, the Prime Minister’s brother, received a peerage.
So too Claire Fox, the former Brexit Party MEP. Go through the list and you’ll see political cronies, Tory donors and Brexit supporters among the 36 buzzed in this summer.
It reminds me of the time last year that the then home secretary Sajid Javid was snubbed for a state dinner with US President Donald Trump.
Previous home secretaries Amber Rudd and Jacqui Smith confirmed they’d both attended all state dinners during their tenure while three more junior ministers had also been buzzed through. Seeing the pattern?
Downing Street claimed back then too that there was only a “limited number” of places available for ministers.
I’m no fan of an honours system that doesn’t care too much about people who look like me anyway. According to Operation Black Vote, only 12 of the 794 peers sitting in the Lords are of black heritage.
However the controversy is an important reminder that, for all of the soundbites, being Black in the UK - whatever your standing - continues to come with obstacles others negotiate with ease.