Tribute to Acie Byrd Jr.

Acie was a tough old bird! He took no prisoners and suffered very few fools. An atomic veteran, the skipper of John Kennedy's PT 109, and a founding member of Stand Up! For Democracy in DC, he was one you wanted on your side.

I first met Acie in 1997 at what happened to be the first meeting of Stand Up! For Democracy in DC (in fact, our organization was named at that meeting).

Congress had just, by undemocratic coup, taken over all but Parks and Recreation from our democratically elected DC government. As a souljah for equal rights, he didn't hesitate to take on the fight for self-determination – DC statehood. A fierce Democrat, he had been a long-time close friend of Josephine Butler – a DC Statehood Party founder; played a major role in the successful 1980 vote for the DC Statehood initiative which waits to be fulfilled. A strong and sometimes intimidating voice for equality and peace – a true souljah – who can deny the legacy of this veteran of many causes? He pled his causes with solid logic and fact, and believed in coalition-building as the key to success.

A few years later, I told him our 1997 mission statement read: "Full democracy. Without hesitation, Acie said in his booming voice, "That must be sabotage! Who wrote that? Full Democracy, what does that mean? Our mission in 1997 was and will always be 'Full Statehood and nothing less.' And Stand Up! known as Free DC! has kept steady on that path."

Acie was a tough old Byrd! He gave so much, he cared so much! He was a true mentor-souljah until the very end. You always wanted him on your side! Thank you, Acie!

Anise Jenkins on behalf of
Stand Up! For Democracy in DC (Free DC!)

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Tribute to Acie Byrd Jr.


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