Remembering Ron Dellums

Ron Dellums had an illustrious career in politics as a longtime congressman, former mayor of Oakland and lobbyist. For decades, he roamed the corridors of power in Washington, DC as an influential voice for those without one. Mr. Dellums, who died this week at age 82, never forgot where he came from or the people he left behind.

Mr. Dellums was a staunch liberal in Congress and an organizer at heart. His uncle, C.L. Dellums, was a legendary organizer and second president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African American union to join the American Federation of Labor.

During his time in Congress, Mr. Dellums was a solid vote for working people, the environment and social and racial justice. Despite criticism he received from the right-wing, he never backed down from his principles. As the first African American elected to Congress from Northern California, Mr. Dellums was a fierce advocate for people of color in his district and around the country.

Rep. Barbara Lee:

Ron was adamant about serving the community and making sure people received a response from their government. He would say that the only question we should ask when we made decisions about anything is: ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ Don’t ask about political expedience. That’s how he got his staff to think.

We need more of that kind of principled leadership today. Ron Dellums will be missed. Rest in Power, Mr. Dellums.

Read the full obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle here