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“Nosotros No Tenemos Armas Para Echar A Pique Sus Fuerzas Navales,
Pero Tenemos el Arma de Echar a Pique Su Prestigio en El Mundo.” Albizu 1930

HomeLawrence written tributesJeanette Charles, December 31, 2002

Jeanette Charles, December 31, 2002

As 2022 comes to a close, today, a dear comrade and teacher transitioned to the realm of the ancestors — too soon. Lawrence Reyes was a fierce freedom fighter, true believer in our liberation, and lived by his principles everyday. Many of us will miss him and my heart goes out to his closest loved ones and family at this time.

Lawrence was the embodiment of a revolutionary whose struggle is led by the purest, deepest feelings of love. Lawrence supported everyone he knew with tremendous compassion — he always led from the heart. Lawrence knew the hardships and challenges our people face from poverty, homelessness, to addiction and other crises. He could talk about all of these things politically, but he’d also help with concrete, real-life solutions. He lived through so much himself and so, he took care of us. I wish we could have taken care of Lawrence more. But, he loved us and did everything in his power to provide for his community because he loved people. Lawrence has taught me what it means to really show up in the world — not in words, but in action. He showed up for our people everyday expecting nothing in return. And, he was always good spirited! Even when times got tough, Lawrence had a smile on his face, raised the vibe, and could make us laugh.
Politically, I met Lawrence more recently within the last decade through circles in LA — Puerto Rican liberation, Latin American solidarity, and as volunteers at KPFK. The last interview we did together, he opened up a space for me to talk about my coaching work with women of color. We covered the history of maroons, Ifá traditionalism, and the Haitian Revolution. He was always down for a long conversation, rich debate, and a good meal. Even during COVID, he sustained relationships and impressed upon me the need to keep doing the work.

On a more personal note, Lawrence was there for me and listened to me a lot especially in the last three years. When I left the radio’s LSB, he understood my reasons and heard me out — even though I know he wanted to see me there fighting for Pacifica. I might have let him down; but, he didn’t express disappointment in my decision. He also helped my family in numerous ways through my dad’s cancer diagnosis, eviction, and other hardships. He knew my family and made our lives feel manageable when everything was so chaotic. He put me in touch with Gilda, another living angel, who I am also indebted to for her willingness to answer my late night calls and walk me through this broken medical system. It’s really hard to fathom a world where I can’t pick up the phone and call Lawrence for a word of encouragement, guidance, or to break bread. He made himself available at a moment’s notice when he could. And, he had so much going on. He was so involved! For me, Lawrence was a movement father and brother — helping me make sense of the world and everything when things became a bit too much.

I’m grateful that I saw him before he passed and sat with him in the ICU. I played salsa for him and I talked about the most recent UC strike updates. Knowing that he’s not in pain anymore, will return to his land, and is being received by his mother and other loved ones is, perhaps, the only solace in all of this. The ancestors rejoice and, on Earth, we mourn.
I’m gonna miss you a lot, Lawrence. Thank you so much for everything you did for our movement, our people, and to make the world a better place.
Que vuelas alto y que la luz del cielo te traiga paz y descanso.
Pa’lante Siempre
Puerto Rico Libre
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