Dignity remembers

We were sorry to hear of the untimely loss of the good Reverend Ronald Williams.

We remember how Reverend Williams came to us at our third site on Water Street by the Morrison Street Bridge on the day before Martin Luther King Jr Day, 2001. The Industrial Association had filed a complaint against our existence on that side of the river and we'd been asked to leave the area. The good Reverend told us that should we choose to make our stand there, not only he but the whole of the Bethel AME Church would stand with us. We had other plans and moved our poor tents across from the condos of the rich at Riverplace but we give thanks.

We remember how Reverend Williams at our fifth site under the Fremont Bridge almost single-handedly stopped four all-terrain vehicles full of police who fully intended to run our border and we give thanks for that.

We remember how Reverend Williams came with us to the Courts of Justice the time Ibrahim Mubarak was attacked by a racist bigot and provocateur and unjustly imprisoned and how we got him free and we give thanks for that.

We remember how Reverend Williams organized an Evening Fast at Smith Memorial Ballroom for our benefit and we give thanks for that. We'll never forget all he did for us.

We were so full of hope when we read in the paper that Reverend Williams was the newly-appointed head of the Oregon Coalition for the Homeless. We believed that he'd recovered from his illness and was returning here to Portland. We were so disappointed when we learned that we were wrong.

We remember how Reverend Williams always stood up for the poor and downpressed and we were honoured to have known him. Some people are larger than life and seem to have more of the Spirit of God in them than others. Reverend Ronald Williams was one of those people and even though he's gone his spirit certainly lives on.

We offer our deepest condolences to the Williams family.