“Come over to my place for lunch.”
That was the extraordinary invitation from the community’s iconic pioneer human rights leader to the protesters out of the Royal Art Gallery some 19 years ago.
He wanted them to know that while they protested together, they could also break bread together.
Such was the measure of the man known as Charles Roach, who died late Tuesday night from brain cancer. He was 79.
An adamant advocate for victims of police brutality, he fought for an end to systemic and endemic racism in Canadian society.
Out of Trinidad and Tobago to Canada to study theology, he turned to law when the injustice was seen as a burden on his people. He noted in an interview some years ago that he was inspired to turn to law because he landed in Canada at the height of the civil rights movement, in 1955.
From there, it was no turning back.