The Work Continues – Justice Then Peace

This site, and it’s content are dedicated to the memory of Mel Reeves, Minneapolis social activist who left the physical world on January 6, 2022. He was the original publisher of writings under the title “Fight The Power Journal” where he discussed a myriad of issues related to social justice, equity and the preservation of humanity across the globe. He dedicated his life to his purpose, being a staple of organized protests and rallies around everything from police violence, to minimum wage increases, to sexual assault. His core belief was that each and every person that the right to food, shelter, water, and being treated with dignity and respect as a human being. He lived that value with each and every person he met, and in how he chose to live his life.

I was fortunate enough to work closely with Mel while I lived in Minneapolis on several social justice initiatives and actions including the National March for Mothers and the Take A Knee Conference. I was blessed to spend time studying the work of Marx, Huey Newton, Angela Davis, Steve Biko and many others, as we looked for ways to apply these tenants to the a critique of inequities and oppressive systems of power – particularly racism and classism. During that time, we were involved in several protest movements across the country. We met and connected with several families who were victims of police violence, and built relationships not on the experience of grief, but through the love of community. Mel was a tremendous speaker, and his ability to energize and mobilize people was uncanny. I was always a person who much preferred to work in the background, and do the behind the scenes work that goes unnoticed. For lack of a better analogy – if Mel was Bumpy Johnson, I was Frank Lucas. I drove him to every event, debriefed and planned speeches and press releases, and discussed strategy. He took me under his wing, and mentored me in the work of activism – activism not for the spotlight, but rather for the people.

But forasmuch as I found solace in the background work, Mel always pushed me to speak, to use the power of pen and voice. Each time we read and studied, he would say how much I need to write, share my thoughts and insights with the world. Our thoughts and knowledge are not just for us – they are for humanity, they don’t belong to us, we’re simply stewards of them. Any opportunity he could create for me to be front and center, he would use – much to my displeasure. This was not based in a fear of public speaking, but rather because I don’t believe the movement sits with a single person, a single voice. A revolution is made up of people sharing a vision, mission and cause. I didn’t want to appear or for it to be assumed that I wanted to be the face of social justice and community power. Besides, there is power in anonymity and collective voice – “I am Spartacus.”

And so it would seem that the best way to honor him, his work, and his life’s legacy would be to answer the challenge that he gave me so many times, and continue to speak truth to power with conviction and purpose – to amplify the voice of those silenced, to disintegrate the vails that blind us to inequity and injustice, and to remind us all that people shouldn’t fear their governments, rather governments should fear the people.

There is a saying that you die twice – once when you take your last breath, and the other that last time someone says your name.

Thank you, Mel Reeves for your dedication to humanity and social justice. Although you are no longer here in the body, your work lives on – so may you live forever.

Justice, then Peace.