New Yorkers pay tribute to Bill Lynch, ‘The Genius’

8/15/2013, 10:52 a.m. | Updated on 8/15/2013, 10:52 a.m.
Bill Lynch in January, 2007 Photo by Karl Crutchfield

“He made David Dinkins the first Black mayor of New York City, David Paterson the first Black governor of New York and he paved the way for the first Black president of the United States. He played an immeasurable role in fostering the spirit of cooperation that defines the relationships between major civil rights leaders and between the Civil Rights Movement and the labor movement. Bill may have been the greatest living organizer still active in our times.”

NAACP Region II Director Marvin Bing: “Not many men would embrace a young street kid who never graduated college but believed he could change the world. Bill was like a father I never had. He believed in me when many laughed. He walked me through my mistakes and gave me confidence. He always said keep organizing and be true to the community. I will spend many nights crying, but I will do my best to live up to the ‘Rumpled Genius’ mission: to bring economic justice and social change to people and places where they never believed they had a chance. I will always love him and remember him.”

NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes: “This is a sad day, not just for the Lynch family but for me and for the country as a whole. Bill’s political advice and wisdom has reached across this nation. He was a compassionate, visionary individual who leaves a void for us in the community, but we will continue to carry on his legacy by doing the things he taught us.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “Bill Lynch stood at the center of one of our city’s most important moments: the election of David Dinkins as New York City’s first African-American mayor. He sought to better our city by bringing people together and served as deputy mayor because he wanted to make a difference for New Yorkers. He spent his life passionately pursuing his ideals—civil rights and social justice.

“Many of the most influential political leaders—here in the city and also on the national level—sought his counsel. He lived a remarkable life, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Comptroller John Liu: “Bill Lynch is a true friend and mentor to generations of countless mentors, leaders, trailblazers, organizers and activists. Words cannot express the deep grief felt throughout New York, including the Team Liu family, of which Uncle Bill is the patriarch. I would not be where nor who I am today without Bill Lynch.”

Assemblywoman Inez Barron: “I am saddened to hear of the passing of a person of such significance to the fight and the accomplishments that he waged on behalf of our civil and our human rights. Bill Lynch was truly a genius and he leaves a strong legacy with all that he has done for the people.”

Councilman Charles Barron: “I worked with Bill Lynch during the Free South Africa Movement in 1984, and we were arrested protesting against apartheid. He was considered an amazing genius with powerful labor connections.