Rev. Bruce Wright — Rest in Power

Said Bruce Wright, running for Pinellas County Shadow Sheriff in 2013: “I know what evil lurks. So whenever any politician, like Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, spouts their usual bullshit, such as announcing that he is handing complete control of Safe Harbor, a shelter for the homeless, to a private security firm, I, the Shadow Sheriff, will have something to say about it.”

— Rose Roby

This has been a hard piece to write.  I’ve spent over a week starting and stopping and deep down I know why – because I never wanted to write a memorial to my friend and one time co-chair of the Pinellas County Green Party, Rev. Bruce Wright.  I still keep expecting to find links on my facebook page from him.  I keep expecting to see another text.  And more than anything I keep wishing I had spoken to him at least one more time.  But I got busy, as we all do, and after all, he’d be there, he was always there.  And so in writing this I have to come to terms with his untimely death and I’ve put it off as if to stop it all from being true.

To many, Bruce was known as a fierce champion of the poorest among us.  A man of God who lived the tradition of liberation theology; he was a Preacher, but never holier-than-thou.  He opened his heart to everyone and used his position not to give mere charity, but to organize leaders; he was a true General in the Poor People’s Army and as the name would imply, he helped organize the poor to be fighters for their liberation from this capitalist system.

Of course, Bruce was all those things to me too, but he was also a good friend.  Somebody who understood me, warts and all.  We both had a similarly dark sense of humor and could always make each other laugh.  He was a fiercely loyal friend, and would stand up for anyone he felt was being treated unfairly.  Did he have a temper?  Boy did he ever!  But his anger was a righteous anger and always came from a place of love – he would never leave a friend alone and I always knew Bruce had my back.

There was so much more to do, his work was unfinished.  Bruce was totally committed to making the Green Party a mass party of the poor, a place where racial and economic justice needed to be at the forefront of our work.  Yes, I mourn for him, but I also organize.  It’s my job to keep his work alive and help create the vision that he was so committed to.

Bruce Wright passed away of meningitis at the age of 59, gone way too soon.  But his legacy lives on in the hearts of his children, his beloved wife Barbara, and his comrades like me who won’t stop until we’ve realized his vision for a world where nobody needs to go hungry or live without a place to call home.


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