Community Activist, Poet, Educator Al Robles Passes on May 2, 2009 – Video

On May 2, it was learned that long-time community activist, poet and educator Al Robles has passed away.

Along with Bill Sorro, Robles was a key figure in the eviction protest and the rebuilding of the I-Hotel in San Francisco through the Manilatown Heritage Association.

Also with Sorro, Robles brought his Education InAction students from City College of San Francisco to the Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar After Dark (now known as Manzanar At Dusk) programs for several years. That continued until a few years ago, before Sorro passed away in August 2007.

Robles has been missed at the Manzanar Pilgrimage. Now he will be missed by everyone whose lives he has touched.

For more…the Hyphen Magazine blog was the first to break the story of Robles’ death…R.I.P. Al Robles.

Valerie Soe, who teaches at San Francisco State University, wrote a nice tribute to Robles.

LEAD PHOTO: Al Robles. Photo: Valerie Soe.

Watch video of a tribute to Robles in San Francisco’s Manilatown on May 3:

Here’s another video tribute to Robles

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5 thoughts on “Community Activist, Poet, Educator Al Robles Passes on May 2, 2009 – Video

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  1. Al was brilliant. I loved seeing him saunter into the Manzanar After Dark programs in Independence for years. He was laughter and humbleness and poetry in motion. His poems were written on scraps of paper that had to be turned in circles to read them for they were written on every available space, along every margin.

  2. I too miss having Al (and Bill) at Manzanar At Dusk. They contributed greatly to the program each year. Al’s poems were the best. And when I think of their work on the I-Hotel…they will be missed tremendously.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear this news. Al was like the pied piper to me, as he was always surrounded by students eager to share their experiences at their first pilgrimage. He always encouraged them to express themselves, and he walked the walk and talked the talk with them. My deepest sympathies to all who loved him.

  4. A gift for the man who gave us so much. Uncle Al gave me the chance to write again, something I gave up on but was inspired back into by his guiding hand. This is part of a 20 poem series about Manong Al:

    Seed Sown

    Your seed now planted
    It’s weeds now grow
    Through sidewalk cracks
    Through Brick wall
    Old Manong, we find a way
    To write our poems
    Like the weed we grow strong
    We will not stop
    Our ink spills like blood
    Crimson across the pulp
    A thousand hands now write as one
    Your inspiration gives us life
    Our pens once dry
    Now run with ink
    Our hearts once heavy
    Now lighten with a faith
    A faith born from your promise
    Your gift unseen
    To those who cannot understand
    Our pens now glide
    Across the paper landscapes
    Across our imaginations
    Your gift, in our hands
    Like raw clay waiting for shape
    Our minds now churn
    Churn with the pulse of our ancestors
    Tradition burns like desire
    Deep within darkened city streets
    Our thoughts now travel
    Across the seas of time
    Our thoughts now cry out
    The chain broken
    Once holding us back
    Now setting us free
    Your gift ten thousand flowers
    Blooming under a blood red moon
    Images brought forth in pain
    Now soothed with the balm of kindness
    You give us life
    As you walk past death
    No chains hold you now
    You are free
    To watch over your children
    Child of the pen
    Born to the paper
    Our gift is yours

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