Damu's immediate O'Kelley roots descends from his grandmother, Helen O'Kelley Smith-Pickens. Damu has always been dedicated to family and achieving much admiration from the family for his life's work. He was a regular featured speaker at the family reunions until his passing in 2006.
Extending over more than thirty years, his activism has included the fight against gun violence, police brutality, government injustice and apartheid in South Africa. On August 12, 2013 at the Anniversary March on Washington, he presents one of his most memorable and firey speeches that he delivered during the 40th Anniversary.
Damu was instrumental in helping grass roots organizations confront Shell Oil about its dumping practices and to force a PVC plant out of Norco, Louisiana, a campaign that has been dramatized in a Lifetime cable channel movie.
In 1999, Smith coordinated the largest environmental justice conference ever held, the historic National Emergency Gathering of Black Community Advocates for Environmental and Economic Justice. On July 28, 2007 the Damu Smith Memorial Environmental Justice Photo Exhibition opened on the campus of Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y.
DC Public Library Honors Activist Damu Smith, Feb. 27, 2011.
Leroy Wesley (“Damu”) Smith embodied the activist spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Smith served in many areas dedicated to economic and social justice. A dedicated collection of his papers permanently reside at the library.
Our family is extremely proud of his massive achievements and exposure to many elite and world class associates. Google Damu Smith to learn more about his life work's vengence in activism and for being a major contributor in making this world a better and environmentally safer place.