[News] The Passing of Piri Thomas 1928-2011

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Oct 19 15:17:32 EDT 2011

The Passing of Piri Thomas 1928-2011

Beloved Puerto Rican-American author and poet Piri Thomas died 
Monday, October 17, 2011, in his home in El Cerrito, CA surrounded by 
his loving wife, Suzie, his children and caregivers, after succumbing 
to pneumonia.

Born September 30, 1928, in Harlem Hospital, New York City, of a 
Puerto Rican mother and Cuban father, his early years were documented 
in 1967 in his bestselling book, Down These Mean Streets, for which 
he was best known. He later wrote two other novels, Savior Savior 
Hold My Hand and Seven Long Times, several plays (The Golden Streets 
and Ole Ole Oy Vey), a book of short stories (Stories from El Barrio) 
, many poems, and recorded two CDs of poetry and music (Sounds of the 
Streets and No Mo' Barrio Blues). Three award-winning films (Petey 
and Johnny, The World of Piri Thomas, and Every Child is Born a Poet) 
were made about him.

He spoke and performed at countless events at colleges, high schools, 
middle schools, senior centers, community gatherings, political 
rallies for peace and justice causes, and many more, while 
encouraging a whole generation of young people to be socially 
responsible in their career choices, and to write and perform poetry, 
which subsequently birthed the new wave of "spoken word" that has 
appeared throughout the country. His intuitive grasp of identity, 
race, and class issues inspired everyone he touched as his ideas were 
grounded in his moral authority and personal sense of dignity. He was 
sincere and generous to a fault.

He is survived by his wife, Suzie Dod Thomas, of El Cerrito, CA, six 
children, Peter Stacker of Chicago, Ricardo Thomas and SanDee Thomas 
of Orlando, FL, Raina Thomas and Tanee Thomas of Columbia, SC, and 
Renee Shank of Seattle; and 7 grandchildren, Megan, Brenann and Eryn 
Stacker, AJ Linares, Arielle and Kristen Thomas, and Sahali Shively, 
three stepchildren, Michael and Laura Olenick of NY, and David Elder 
of Los Angeles, and two step granchildren, Jacob and Lily Olenick.

The family requests no flowers or gifts. Written sentiments may be 
sent to <mailto:Cheverote at aol.com>Cheverote at aol.com or 2503 Edwards 
Ave. El Cerrito, CA 94530. Tax deductible donations (payable to 
Social Justice, earmarked for the Piri Thomas Fund) maybe made in his 
name and sent to:

Piri Thomas Memorial Fund
C/O Social Justice/Global Options
PO Box 40601
San Francisco, CA 94140

To date, memorials are being planned for the Bay Area, New York, and 
Orlando, Florida. Dates to be announced.

For more information, please e-mail:

Suzie Dod Thomas at <mailto:Cheverote at aol.com>Cheverote at aol.com

or view his website, 

No phone calls, please.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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