Local civil rights leader, journalist and former president of the Philadelphia NAACP Jerome Whyatt "Jerry" Mondesire died at a Philadelphia hospital Sunday night, according to his family.
Philly.com first reported Mondesire, 65, was in critical condition at Thomas Jefferson Hospital. A family friend told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Mondesire suffered a brain aneurysm while undergoing dialysis at Chestnut Hill Hospital Friday. He was then transferred to Jefferson and placed on a ventilator.
Mondesire passed away Sunday evening with his family and close friends by his side.
Born in Harlem, New York in 1949, Mondesire was a journalist and activist. He was a City Desk Editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer, writer for the Baltimore Sun, and owner of the Philadelphia Sun newspaper. Mondesire took over the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP in 1991 where he remained until his suspension in 2014 for allegedly misusing funds.
The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) also released a statement on Mondesire's death.
"Mondesire, 65, was a founding member of PABJ, and a relentless crusader for human and civil rights," a PABJ spokesperson wrote. "He was an advocate for the community that he loved as publisher of the Philadelphia Sunday Sun and as a community affairs host on WDAS-FM radio. He extended his reach even farther as a long-serving president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, fighting to ensure that issues affecting Blacks in the city were both acknowledged."
Cherri Gregg, the current president of PABJ, said Mondesire "used the power of the pen and the bullhorn to advocate for those in Philadelphia without a voice."
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"He fought not only for Philadelphia’s Black community but for all people of color and wanted nothing more than for all people in this city to be treated justly," she wrote.
The PABJ is planning on honoring Mondesire during their annual awards banquet while his family is planning a memorial.
"Details about the memorial service are forthcoming," a family member said in a statement. "The family wants to thank everyone for their love and support."