This is a hard thing to write about. We are all grief-stricken. One of Friends New Underground Railroad’s Ugandan conductors, Tony, died today.
FNUR co-manager Talcott Broadhead wrote:
“There was a lot of bitter today. Not much sweet, sadly. A Ugandan conductor and dear friend who I have been working with for the past 6 months passed away a few hours ago. May he rest in power and …well….just rest. He moved mountains. He moved people. He is in my heart now forever.”
In Tony’s memory:
“If you have come here to help me, then you are wasting your time…But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” –Lila Watson
Another Quaker we work with wrote:
“I have lost a brother and a friend. He rescued almost 300 people, including children. And did it all while he had typhoid, malaria, active tuberculosis, worms, acute dysentery, poor nutrition, and who knows what else. When he collapsed with the blood clot, the medical staff was amazed at all the other things wrong with him. And through it all, he carried on, with clear thinking, and even with humor (especially when I kept telling him to eat!)
In another culture and another time, he would be a legend greater than Oscar Schindler.”
Tony developed a blood clot in a lung. In Uganda, the second you don’t have cash to pay for your care the hospital throws you out. Tony’s care therefore was inconsistent. In the last two days he was cared for by a lovely man who we also work with. So his final days were in a loving and peaceful environment.
Tony’s family completely rejected him in his life and even in death they have turned their backs on him. The man who cared for him at the end wrote,
“Even his family isn’t interested or even accept his body because he was gay.”
It was such an honor to work beside Tony. I will miss this man who was an amazing friend and activist. This is a really a hard time for those of us who knew and loved this man and had the honor of working with him.
Tony was an inspiration for us in so many ways, and now we will carry him and carry on in this work that he was so passionate to do.
But first we need to bury his body. We need to raise $785 to have Tony buried ASAP. And we have less than $10 right now and none of us have the funds to pay this.
Please donate what you can to help us bury Tony and ask your friends to do so as well.
Gabi Clayton, co-manager of Friends New Underground Railroad