In Remembrance and Gratitude to Mel Reeves

Like so many others in our community, the Alliance staff, Board, and partners are grieving the irreplaceable loss and honoring the enduring legacy of Mel Reeves, who passed away last week. Among his many fights for justice, Mel was a contract organizer with the Alliance from 2011 until his death, working with the HIRE Minnesota campaign to eliminate racial disparities in employment. 

As an organizer, Mel was a connector. A connector across movements, struggling for transit equity, economic justice, police accountability, immigrant rights — and so many other issues. A connector of people in his inclusive vision and leadership style, always inviting more voices into organizing spaces. And a connector across generations, ever generous of his time, knowledge and spirit to build lasting power to advance the long arc of justice.  

As a writer and thinker, Mel was a truth teller. In public, his rousing presence on a bullhorn — Justice Then Peace — inspired action, calling out wrongs with unflinching tenacity and unyielding integrity and bringing community together to demand accountability and create lasting change. In print, he was a heartfelt writer and a rigorous scholar, not only providing his own incisive analysis but mentoring the next generation of thought leaders and community voices. In private, he never backed away from a good debate and was a loquacious storyteller who could keep a listener weaving with him through vibrant threads for hours.

And, as a neighbor and friend, he was a lover. His work was motivated by broad compassion and unwavering empathy earned through his own experiences. He was witty and warm, with an infectious grin on his face and unending acts of kindness on his heart. His life was an overture of overflowing love for his community. For his people. And that love, even if we didn’t know him, had and will have an impact on us all. 

Please join the Alliance in donating to Mel’s homegoing fund, attending his services this week and reflecting on the joy and justice he brought into our lives.