Kenneth “Kenito” Weeks died April 17 at his home in Gainesville, after a two-year cancer battle. Born in Washington, DC in 1943, he had been a Floridian since 1960 and resident of north Florida since 1978.
Kenito considered himself to be a citizen of the world, and he was involved in the struggles for peace and justice, civil rights, the labor movement, and the environmental and anti-war movements for decades. He was recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, and the Nature Conservancy for his dedication, and was a life member of the Sierra Club. He was an active member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Labor Party of Alachua County Committee of 100, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the United Farm Workers.
Kenito traveled throughout Asia, the Americas, and Europe and worked extensively with the Sierra Club, Casa Nicaraguense, Inter-Religious Fellowship for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH), the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, Proyecto Libertad, Earthwatch Institute, The Saint Augustine-Baracoa (Cuba) Friendship Association, Grandparents for Peace, and Bridges Across Borders. He observed elections in five countries and served as an official election observer in Nicaragua (1990) and El Salvador (1994). In 1995 he founded the Cuba Information Access, an internet news service that provided the truth about Cuba and the effects of the 55 year U.S. embargo. He opposed the training of Latin American militaries in terrorist tactics, torture, kidnapping and murder by the U.S. government and “crossed the line” many times since 1994 at the annual vigil to close the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSC) at Fort Benning, GA. Ken was a veteran of six years in the US Marines, a turning point in his life, and became a member of Veterans for Peace in 1990. In 1997, after a 33 year career, he left Florida Power & Light Company and devoted most of his time to volunteer work, foreign travel and as an advisory board member of Bridges Across Borders, developing projects in Mexico, Colombia and the Darien Gap of Panama. He was dedicated to the struggle for human rights, peace and justice and to bring an end to institutional discrimination as well as political and military repression. He kept the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero always near his lips, “We who have a voice, must speak for the voiceless.”
To cherish his memory is his life partner, best friend and devoted wife Shuying “Ying” Cui, his son Kurtis Weeks, his daughter Karen Weeks Silva, and his sponsor-daughter Veronica Treas Morgan of Mescalero, New Mexico.
He will also be missed by hundreds of fellow activists and people of conscience who knew him for his tireless work on behalf of the poor, disenfranchised and those suffering injustice in this United States of the Americas and the world. And he will be thought of kindly by the many friends he made wherever he left footprints.
Ken requested a natural burial at Prairie Creek Conservation Trust Cemetery. Donations in his memory can be made to Bridges Across Borders for the Meals on Heels elder food program or to the Civic Media Center or Gainesville Iguana, who give voice to what is too often unheard.
Donations in his memory can be made to Bridges Across Borders for the Meals on Heels elder food program or to the Civic Media Center, who gives voice to what is too often unheard.