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Thursday, September 22, 2016

UPDATED: Henry Shelton, hero for social justice, has died.

UPDATED: Fighter for the poor, mentor to generations of activists, dies at age 86
By Will Collette

Image result for Henry shelton Rhode Island

One of Rhode Island's greatest organizers and activists for social and economic justice, Henry Shelton, died after a long illness but after a much longer life of being an inspiration to generations of Rhode Islanders.

I first met Henry while finishing up my studies at Rhode Island College at picket lines Henry organized to support the grape and lettuce boycotts called for by striking United Farm Workers. Then later, I had the honor of working with Henry in coalitions fighting for welfare and health care rights.

Nearly every organizer I knew from the 1970s to the present who ever worked in or passed through Rhode Island knew and admired Henry as one of the most passionate, hard-working champions for social justice. He was the most genuine person you could imagine, never content to be satisfied with just a half-measure of justice or a slow step forward toward progress.

Though the years took their toll and Henry could no long fire up the crowd - usually from the back of the room - he nonetheless devoted every last measure to the cause of justice for the poor.

Henry will be sorely missed.

Keep reading for Rep. Jim Langevin's statement.

Langevin Statement on the Passing of Henry Shelton

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) released the following statement in response to the passing of George Wiley Center founder and social justice advocate Henry Shelton:

“Helping others was at the core of Henry Shelton’s life and work. In everything he did, he put the needs of those who were less fortunate in front of his own. He led by example, and did the hard-fought, grassroots work that goes into shaping public policy. His compassion and his tireless commitment to fighting poverty in Rhode Island and beyond made him an effective advocate and an inspiration to me and so many others. When Henry saw injustice, he set out to right the wrong, no matter how steep the challenge. I’m grateful to Henry Shelton for his lifetime of leadership, and my thoughts go out to his friends, family, and fellow advocates who fought alongside him.”