The Bay Area and the Nation mourns the loss of former U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums, who has died. T.R. Goldman of the Washington Post said of Dellums: "Ronald V. Dellums, who entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1971 as a fiery anti-war activist from Berkeley and grew over 14 terms into a deft and respected legislator, becoming the first African-American to chair the Armed Services Committee and helping win the fight to impose economic sanctions on apartheid South Africa, died July 30. He was 82." Oakland Civil Rights Supreme Court-winning Attorney and soon to be Oakland mayoral candidate, Pamela Price gives a personal perspective for Wright Enterprises Community Spotlight.
My Tribute to Ron
“The struggle to end racism, sexism, and homophobia; . . . to ensure that the children are educated, our families housed, our communities safe, and our environment sound; and to secure the post-Cold War peace . . . all remain urgent national priorities.” Ronald V. Dellums (1935-2018)
I am sure that the shock of the moment is still on my face. It is still passing slowly. Each moment of the fact of Ron Dellums' untimely passing is having an impact in my spirit this day.
Ronald V. Dellums became one of my personal heros in 1975, in Cincinnati Ohio at the National Black Political Convention. I was a delegate. Ron was our champion. My good friend, David Thomas and I pledged that if Ron Dellums accepted the Convention's call to run for President in 1976, we would drop out of Yale College, and give our all to support him. Fortunately, Ron said no. David and I were devastated and heartbroken. We were completely disillusioned by politics in that moment, but we both went on to graduate from Yale. I became the firebrand bold kick-ass lawyer that you all know, and David is today the President of Morehouse College.
Ron Dellums' courageous decision to endorse me in the 2018 fight for the Alameda County District Attorney's office will inspire me for the rest of my life. He chose to stand with us when so many other "electeds" were either scared or skeptical. His challenge to our campaign was to end the racial disparities in prosecutions and mass incarceration of Black and Brown people. In his words, "these times call for courageous and transformative disruptors of systemic racial injustice." His primary concern was the consequences for Black and Brown children who continue to be prosecuted as adults in Alameda County. He noted that the "devastation to these children from their exposure to the adult criminal justice system makes it almost impossible for them to ever recover. Children who are thrown into the adult justice system are more likely to reoffend, are often sexually assaulted, and many end up committing suicide. And most often, these children are Black and Brown children.”
This day, as I stand on the precipice of preparing to run for Oakland Mayor, I once again recognize that I stand on his shoulders. I'm told that when he first heard that I was thinking of running for Mayor, it made him smile. We did not have the chance to talk about it, but I know how much he loved Oakland. And how much he gave to make this a better place for all of us, and especially for our children. As a child of the movement, I know that we honor our elders by carrying on the torch for freedom and justice. I know that Ronald V. Dellums would expect no less of me, or any of us.
Rest in peace and power, Ron.
A luta continua,
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