(CBM) – One of the Golden State’s most prominent, longstanding and influential African-American political figures will be put to rest on Saturday.
Percy Pinkney, founder of the Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC), died on March 18 of natural causes.
The 79-year-old Los Angeles resident’s funeral will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary in Fair Oaks. A viewing will begin at 9 a.m.
Pinkney founded the 40,000-member BAPAC in 1979 and served as the group’s state president until his death.
BAPAC’s goal since its founding has been to develop, document, and identify the resources necessary to achieve cultural, economic and educational goals of underserved citizens in California. The group has also been committed to the active participation of African Americans in the political process.
BAPAC-San Diego Board Chairman and BAPAC Southern Vice President Dr. Willie Blair said Pinkney was a leader who touched many lives for the better.
“He would want his legacy to be that,” Blair said. “We utilize his passing as a rally call to make BAPAC stronger and more prolific than ever, and that is exactly what we plan to do. If he knew that he would be smiling down from heaven.”
Pinkney’s career in politics began four years before he started the BAPAC, which has grown to 50 chapters around the state.
Pinkney led Gov. Jerry Brown’s community relations department for seven years during the California executive’s first governorship, beginning in 1975.
The McComb, Miss. native was the first person to join U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s staff in 1992. Pinkney was the senator’s field representative in Los Angeles, overseeing issues affecting the Black community until he retired in 2014.
Feinstein said in a statement she met Pinkney in 1969 when he was working as a social worker in San Francisco. She said her longtime friend was a caring person whose compassion for others never ceased.
“No issue was too small or too big for Percy to tackle,” she said. “When Percy became engaged on an issue, he didn’t rest until the problem was solved. Percy represented the best of public service — an unwavering devotion to the people of California and making their lives better. It was an honor to be Percy’s friend and I will miss him dearly.”
Pinkney was also a U.S. Army veteran. He earned his undergraduate degree at San Francisco State and a Masters in social work from San Francisco’s Lone Mountain College.
For more information, contact the BAPAC at 310.479.4727 or bapacstateoffice.org.