I came across this video of Van talking about his crusade to end the practice at one of the local hospitals. It's interesting to hear this guy, with ties to old money Tallahassee with Lewis State Bank, talk about how he and his brother were arrested for simply walking up and down a public sidewalk with protest signs in 1970. Van died Monday after living for four-months with pancreatic cancer. He was 68. Among his last words, the newspaper reports, he wrote out this message on a white dry erase board:
"Maybe God's main work with me is done. My body stops. I don't. I'll try to do my job. I'll let God take care of God's."Not even 24-hours later, another longtime activist and advocate for neighborhoods was killed in a car accident on West Pensacola Street. I interviewed Edwina Stephens years ago when I was still the lowest person on the totem pole at WFSU. But in that one interview, I saw why people were drawn to listen to her. She was passionate about protecting neighborhoods and the environment. She didn't need to be in political office; her's was more the role of the prophet, speaking truth to power at every turn and doing so in a way that was a loud thunder without the ligtening show. Her presence on the southside was huge, and her absence will be felt.
Into your hands, dear God, come the souls of Van and Edwina. May light perpetual shine upon them and may they ever increase in your presence. Amen.