Saturday, 19 August 2017 17:37

Stand Up! / Free DC Mourns the Passing of Dick Gregory, International Civil Rights, Satirist and DC Statehood Advocate

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Washington, DC Members of Stand Up! for Democracy in DC (Free DC) mourn the passing of Richard C. Gregory.  

The iconic activist and trailblazing civil rights organizer passed away after a brief illness on August 19, 2017 in Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC.

Known for his historic dedication to equal rights for African Americans and those who were treated as minorities and excluded from resources globally, Dick Gregory supported the civil rights movement with his financial resources and his life.

Gregory had been a steadfast supporter of full citizenship rights through DC statehood for the 681,170 residents of Washington, DC – where he had made his home. 

In 1993, he staged a 51-day fast to focus national attention on the introduction of H.R. 51, the New Columbia Admission Act introduced by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).  Gregory gave his full support for a hunger strike for DC statehood by members of the Occupy DC movement in 2011.  He also supported the 72 statehood activists – including Stand Up! Free DC Executive Director Anise Jenkins and Board Member Keith Silver – who were arrested with former Mayor Vincent C. Gray in April 2011.

Gregory was very close to media mogul Cathy Hughes, who also supported DC statehood as a founder of Stand Up! for Democracy in DC (Free DC).  He served for years on the Pacifica Radio Board of Directors and often appeared on WPFW 89.3 FM radio shows, including “To Heal DC” with Joni Eisenberg, who said that Gregory was her mentor.

“The honorable, the esteemed, the un-bought Mr. Dick Gregory was well aware of Stand Up!’s continued service to ‘Free DC’ in our lifetime,” said Keith Silver, a member of the Stand Up! / Free DC Board of Directors, and a very close friend of Gregory’s.

Stand Up! / Free DC Executive Director Anise Jenkins said that “We could not have been more honored that such a true civil rights organizer with his history of commitment to human rights supported DC statehood.  Mr. Gregory warned me that ‘You are not going to achieve statehood until the people in DC are willing to put their bodies, faith and energies on the line.’”  “Members of Stand Up! / Free DC will greatly miss the physical presence of Mr. Gregory and will honor his many sacrifices and contributions by carrying on the fight for DC statehood until it is a reality,” added Jenkins.

Contact:  Anise Jenkins, (202) 361-9739,
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              Keith Silver, (202) 704-7389

Since its inception in 1997, Stand Up! for Democracy in DC (Free DC) was the only grassroots organization in the District of Columbia focused primarily on the pursuit of statehood.  Recognizing that only through being admitted to the Union as a state, will DC residents be able to rise above our third-class citizenship and our ongoing oppression by the United States Congress.  Stand Up! / Free DC is celebrating two decades of advocating, educating, mobilizing and organizing for DC statehood.  Democracy begins at home, and Stand Up! will continue our fight to Free DC and demand Statehood Now!


Read 2178 times Last modified on Monday, 25 September 2017 18:13


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Stand Up! for Democracy in DC (FREE DC) was founded in 1997 to help 700,000 residents of our nation’s capital achieve full and equal citizenship rights through DC Statehood. Checks and/or money orders may be mailed to Stand Up! (FREE DC) via our Executive Director, Anise Jenkins, at 635 Edgewood Street NE, #708, Washington, DC 20017 or via Dorothy Height Station, Post Office Box 2152, Washington, DC 20013-2152. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!

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