by the editors, January 2020
Sad news. Al Simpson, a valued contributor to this blog, died suddenly on December 20 while on vacation. His death shocked and saddened us and his family.
All of his life, Al maintained a strong sense of social justice. This outlook was also matched by his actions. He was a mathematician, an anti-war activist, and a supporter of workers’ rights. He was no armchair advocate. Al went into neighborhoods and picket lines, recently supporting the strikes of auto workers and the Metro/Transdev employees at the Cinder Bed bus garage, traveling many miles for early shifts on the line and at rallies. He did not hesitate to speak up about the need to eliminate capitalism but never tried to dominate or insist on his point of view in the groups he joined.
Al was a consistent participant in Life After Release, a Prince George’s County, Maryland organization that promoted justice, such as no-bail arrests, and services, such as classes on re-entry, for people who were incarcerated. He attended numerous trials as part of Court Watch and supported the participatory defense efforts that help engage and empower people in their own legal strategies. He also participated in a study group on criminal injustice, reading popular accounts of racist patterns of arrests, harassment, and imprisonment.
It was a pleasure working with Al on this blog. He gave and received constructive criticism, offered insights, conducted research to ensure accuracy, and initiated and wrote many articles. His work, honesty, and positive outlook will be deeply missed.
You can read his posts at multiracialunity.org.