On behalf of A Different Booklist and the San Vicente/Sadu family, I take this opportunity to publicly convey our love and condolences to Dawn, Sunset, Kike and June Roach, on the passing of a father and partner in life.
Charles Roach was an intellectual, activist, artist, visionary and a beacon in the community. This fearless warrior for justice believed in people power. He fought in the courts, but his main battleground was the streets. He led successful fights to change racist immigration policies; he stood side by side with that other great champion of the Black Community, Brother Dudley Laws, to challenge police violence and police racism; he was a Pan-Africanist who took on some of the toughest fights; he was one of the few to stand in defense of the New Jewel Movement of Grenada when their leaders were being unjustly condemned without evidence and he came to the defense of Hutu Rwandans unjustly accused of genocide at the International Criminal Court. To the end he fought against the Monarchy and never became a Canadian citizen because he refused to swear allegiance to the Queen. He was a champion for all!!
We thank him for leading our marches as a drum major for justice. We thank him for speaking truth to power and for demonstrating that leadership never wavers, falters or is unkind to colleagues and comrades.
We thank him for being the founder of Caribana and teaching us to appreciate the beauty of the arts and to understand its power as a tool for social change.
The late Richard Didley, standing outside Bathurst Street subway, once had a brilliant sign that said “if you step on a roach may sure his name is not Charlie.”
Charles Roach, we will remember you for making us step higher and together. We will miss your fine style of dress, and of course the signature classic sexy green car. We want your family to know that your life’s efforts were never in vain, and that in the telling of your story, future generations will grow taller, because of a life well lived.
Miguel, Sojourner and Itah,
A Different Booklist