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Damu Smith 1952-2006: Legendary Peace Activist Dies After Battle with Colon Cancer

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Legendary peace activist Damu Smith died Friday morning in Washington, DC of colon cancer. The founder of Black Voices for Peace and the National Black Environmental Justice Network, he spent years fighting environmental racism, particularly in the South. [includes rush transcript]

He was a key leader in the anti-Apartheid movement and fought police brutality in Washington, DC and around the country. Damu was diagnosed with colon cancer last year while on a peace mission in the Occupied Territories. He then not only fought for his life, but against racial disparities in the health care system. Damu is survived by his daughter Aisha and his legacy lives on in all those who fight for justice.

  • Damu Smith, speaking at the first annual Unvarnished Truth Awards in Washington D.C., September 2005.

Damu Smith on Democracy Now!

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Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Damu Smith, the legendary peace activist died earlier this morning. The founder of Black Voices for Peace and the National Black Environmental Justice Network spent years fighting against environmental racism, particularly in the South. He was a key leader in the anti-apartheid movement and fought police brutality in Washington, D.C. and around the country. Damu was diagnosed with colon cancer last year on a peace mission in the Occupied Territories. He then not only fought for his life, but against racial disparities in the health care system. In September, he spoke at the first annual Unvarnished Truth Awards in Washington, D.C.

DAMU SMITH: I’m tired of seeing hungry children get up in the morning. I’m tired of seeing people living with AIDS, who don’t have the power to help themselves because they don’t have the resources to do so. I’m tired of seeing people tortured and oppressed. I’m tired of seeing all of these things, and as Fannie Lou Hamer said, well, she’s sick and tired of being sick and tired. So, she understood in order not to be sick and tired of being sick and tired, she had to get up off of herself, after she prayed to her god and said, “Give me the strength to do what I need to do to transform this world.” And so, out of the poverty of Mississippi and the violence and terrorism of Mississippi, this woman, Fannie Lou Hamer, rose up to do what so many of us have refused to do, and that is, to speak truth to power and not be afraid to do it.

AMY GOODMAN: Damu Smith is survived by his daughter Aisha. His legacy lives on in all those who fight for justice.

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