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OMA&D Mourns Passing of Seattle Civil Rights Activist Bob Santos

Robert “Bob” Santos, a longtime local civil rights activist and friend of OMA&D, passed away on Aug. 27, at the age of 82.

Bob Santos at Celebration 2016
Bob Santos (left) attended OMA&D’s annual scholarship fundraiser, Celebration, on May 5. He is pictured with Mark Dederer, senior vice president & community affairs program manager at Wells Fargo. Photo: Karen Orders

Santos was born in Seattle and became involved in the local civil rights movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He was a leader in the efforts to preserve Seattle’s Chinatown/International District and was a member of the “Gang of Four” – a group of civil rights activists from different communities who worked together: Santos, the late Roberto Maestas, ’66, ’71, the late Bernie Whitebear and Larry Gossett, ‘71. The group founded the Minority Executive Directors Coalition in 1982. From 1972-1989, Santos was the executive director of the International District Improvement Association.

Link to eNews Letter Fall 2016UW President Ana Mari Cauce issued a statement on Sunday.

“Integrity and valor are the two words that first come to mind when I think of him,” she said. “Through Bob’s leadership, advocacy and mentorship, the cause of civil rights and social justice has been advanced, and the lives of countless members of our community, especially Asian Pacific Islanders, have been improved. We’ve truly lost a giant.”

Santos is being remembered by several Seattle media outlets including the Seattle Times, International Examiner, Northwest Asian Weekly and the Seattle Globalist.