Roland "Commander" Sykes
June 1st, 1953 - March 10th, 2008
Wizard, Bit Twiddler, Philosopher, Teacher, and most fun of
The Bus Driver for ADAPT
From: Darrell Price
I first met roland in ohio in 1995. He ALWAYS had in mind how to stay focused on relieving others from their suffering, how to keep the IL movement true to its vision and not get bastardized by bureaucracy, and how to HAVE FUN while you are doing it. Some friends of mine were with him near his final hours, and told me about it today. We feel his loss keenly but also know that he lives on in us, because his passion and personality were so powerful they couldn't help but leave an impression on you (even if it drove you nuts from time to time).
I remember he drive me to and from my first national action, at least 20 hours of "a captive audience." Some things he kept shouting like a battle cry, over and over, like "Let's get one thing clear. The one thing that our "founding fathers" never thought of in the constitution was what we fight so much today, the power of uncontrolled corporations, like the capitalism gone mad that makes us cattle for the nursing home industry." Over and over till it drove me nuts. But at the same time he would laugh at how the narrow view of bureaucrats and profiteers is DOOMED to fail because when they join our club, as everybody must sooner or later, they will see the madness. He would laugh because he KNEW that it was never a question of IF we would win but when. His passion and vision made a strange mixture of rage and joy.
Its often hard for me to keep in mind his kind of patience and tenacity especially as we see our brothers and sisters fall, but the kind of spirit that he had, that lives on in so many of us, will always make us mighty. He was a good friend for many years, and i feel the loss of him, but when I'm in the streets with you i feel his presence again, and it always helps me keep going, just as he did.