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Dr. Richard Claxton “Dick” Gregory, 84, joined the ancestors Aug. 19, the same day as the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C. A longtime advocate for human rights, Gregory ran for president of the United States, went to Iran to negotiate the release of Americans held hostage, is also known for his Bohemian diet and extensive fasts for human rights. Ten years ago he visited Oakland to honor the lives of the 918 adults and 305 children – including 40 infants – who lost their lives along with U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and a United Press International film crew.
The recent deaths of Alton Sterling, 37, and Philando Castile, 32, at the hands of state-sanctioned violence are additional tragedies in an endless list of Black victims, and a reminder that premature Black death continues to take center stage in the Black narrative. With our heads in our hands and our eyes swollen, we keep asking, when will Black lives matter? White silence about these atrocities is almost as dangerous as the hand that pulls the trigger.