Tribute to the late Cllr Ron Stone
by Forward Maisokwadzo, Coordinator, Bristol City of Sanctuary
There is always a risk that the daily dose of death fed to us by the media will numb our emotions, even when the information comes from those who have witnessed and escaped war zones. The situation changes dramatically when we know the victims personally.
Councillor Ron Stone devoted himself to those survivors of war who made it to Bristol. News of his death was not only a personal tragedy to his wife and family, but also sent shock waves around all of us who knew his devoted service to justice, human rights and humanitarian causes. Ron stood up for and alongside the most vulnerable destitute asylum-seekers in the city.
The history of Bristol’s journey to be recognized as a City of Sanctuary in 2011 would be incomplete without Ron Stone’s contribution. He was proud to move the crucial motion in the council chamber in November 2010. It was just one more demonstration of his commitment to diversity which he regarded as an essential ingredient to the vibrancy of the city in which he was born and served as a Councillor for so many years.
Those who know him agree with me that despite his small physical stature, Ron had the biggest of hearts, and stood tall in championing the cause of marginalised communities.
His life was indeed a testament to hard work, family and good deeds. As the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:
“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time”
To us within the sanctuary movement, Ron, you demonstrated your humility and your commitment to justice and equality. Above all you were an action driven comrade. You may be sorely missed, but we will continue to hold firmly your torch, until local and national authorities put an end to asylum destitution. Thank you for helping to show us the way.