Wednesday, April 15

Obituary :Rev. Ronald Williams of Baton Rouge dies

Baton Rouge political and religious leaders Wednesday mourned the death of the Rev. Ronald Williams, known for his leadership of Mount Carmel Baptist Church and as one of the founders of Together Baton Rouge.
“He leaves a legacy of a church that grows out of the community, that walks with the poor and that acts for justice,” said Broderick Bagert, lead organizer with TBR.
In late 2008, five pastors met at Williams’ church to begin forming what would become Together Baton Rouge, a nonprofit community activist group. Bagert remembers the minister as a man of strong religious convictions but who practiced his faith without pretension.
“That just opens doors to people’s hearts to get past the petty divisions,” Bagert said.
In the following years, Williams and Together Baton Rouge served as a voice for the community, lobbying the city for funding to repair the Blue Grass Bridge, encouraging voters to provide more funding for city public transportation and encouraging lawmakers to re-examine the operation of “predatory” payday loan companies, Bagert said.
“He had a real passion and energy. … When he walked in, you just felt like he was ready to go,” said Dianne Hanley, who worked with Williams on efforts to pass a new tax to improve city bus transportation.
Williams, whom she described as “righteous in the right way,” opened up his church for strategy meetings and as a staging ground for volunteers who canvassed neighborhoods before the 2012 tax election.
When the Blue Grass Bridge in the Glen Oaks community shut down, Williams and other TBR organizers successfully lobbied the Metro Council to restore the route.

“We didn’t know what to do. They were a big help, a huge help,” said resident Dorothy Thomas.
Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle credited Williams as one of the church leaders who brought local pastors together to help one another’s community programs through institutions like the Mid-City Baptist Fellowship.
“I lost a good friend and a good community leader,” she said.
Family members could not be reached Wednesday for information about Williams or about the funeral plans.

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