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Thank you, Brother Ron

August 10, 2018

by Paradise

Son of a longshoreman, Dellums once said, “If being an advocate of peace, justice and humanity toward all human beings is radical, then I’m glad to be called radical.” – Photo: Kamau Amen-Ra

He was our local Frederick Douglass. Even looked a bit like him: dashingly handsome, tall, strong, fierce, dedicated, educated, elegant and eloquent. And deeply rooted in the community.

The former civil rights activist, mayor of Oakland and congressman, who put programs for the people ahead of war and weapons of mass destruction, the honorable and distinguished elder Ron Dellums joined the ancestors July 30, after making his presence felt on this planet for 82 years.

When Oakland speaks, the whole world listens. And the world heard Oakland, the West and the African Diaspora speak out through then Congressman Ron Dellums and Keith Carson, against the unjust imprisonment of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela and Apartheid.

Dellums and Carson and thousands of other local voices, along with millions of voices from around the world led the epic struggle that would eventually free Mandela after 27 years behind bars and bring down the nearly 50-year-old system of apartheid.

The former civil rights activist, mayor of Oakland and congressman, who put programs for the people ahead of war and weapons of mass destruction, the honorable and distinguished elder Ron Dellums joined the ancestors July 30, after making his presence felt on this planet for 82 years.

Mr. Mandela was so grateful for the efforts of Ron Dellums and the people of the greater Oakland San Francisco Bay Area, that almost no sooner was he released than he came to the Oakland Coliseum Arena, June 30, 1990, to thank us personally.

Congressman Ron Dellums campaigns for a colleague in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn in 1972. – Photo: Librado Romero, New York Times

I never had the opportunity to thank Ron Dellums personally for honoring me, when he was mayor, on behalf of the City of Oakland, with my own day, Paradise Day, Oct. 6, 2006. This was done after he was petitioned by my late friend and poet laureate of Alameda, Mary Rudge, who led the campaign for me to have such a day, along with other locals, including Wanda Sabir, who is also very much deserving of having a day celebrated in her honor! Along with our distinguished Congresswoman Barbara Lee, we were proteges of Mr. Dellums.

This is my personal take on Ron Dellums. I will let others who knew him much better than I scribe on the life in fuller detail of this Oakland All Star, Afrakan All Star and activist for the people, who had Oakland’s federal building named after him. Mr. Dellums, I can only and best thank you by continuing to honor your legacy with action and helping to fulfill your dream of making Oakland a model city for the arts.

Paradise is president of the International Black Writers and Artists, was honored with his own day, Oct. 6, by the city of Oakland, and may be heard performing at True Vibe Records Presents. Find him on Facebook at Paradise Freejah Lovesupreme.

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