Joe Hicks, a black conservative and community activist from Los Angeles, died Sunday. He was 75.
Hicks passed away at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica following complications after a routine hernia operation.
In recent years Hicks — with his bald head and thick mustache — had become a familiar right-wing pundit in debates over the high-profile shooting deaths of black people at the hands of police officers. He cautioned against racial distrust, argued there were legitimate reasons why black communities draw police attention and was ambivalent about the Black Lives Matter movement. “He would take a stand on an issue because he thought it was right, whether it was popular or not,” said David Lehrer, who co-founded with Hicks the local race relations think tank Community Advocates. “He had a very strong moral compass. He was firm and strong and principled and warm.” In a letter published in the Los Angeles Times shortly after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, Hicks and Lehrer contended there was “no wave of bigotry directed at blacks. All this talk is demagogic posturing, and it’s dangerous. … The biggest threat to the lives of young blacks is other young blacks, not white bigots.” h/t latimes
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Hicks’ family and friends at this difficult time.