Activist Ron Allen remembered as soldier in fight against injustice

  • Paul Michna/pmichna@dailyherald.comMourners hug outside the church after the funeral service for Ron Allen of Naperville, a 73-year-old Democratic precinct committeeman and community activist. He was laid to rest at 2 p.m. Saturday at DuPage AME Church in Lisle. Allen was shot to death while driving early Dec. 2 in Chicago.

    Paul Michna/pmichna@dailyherald.comMourners hug outside the church after the funeral service for Ron Allen of Naperville, a 73-year-old Democratic precinct committeeman and community activist. He was laid to rest at 2 p.m. Saturday at DuPage AME Church in Lisle. Allen was shot to death while driving early Dec. 2 in Chicago.

  • Paul Michna/pmichna@dailyherald.comPallbearers carry Ron Allen's casket out of the church. Allen was laid to rest at 2 p.m. Saturday at DuPage AME Church in Lisle. Allen was shot to death while driving early Dec. 2 in Chicago.

    Paul Michna/pmichna@dailyherald.comPallbearers carry Ron Allen's casket out of the church. Allen was laid to rest at 2 p.m. Saturday at DuPage AME Church in Lisle. Allen was shot to death while driving early Dec. 2 in Chicago.

 
 
Updated 12/17/2016 10:13 PM

As Ron Allen lay peacefully in an open casket, the scene unfolding around him at DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lisle was evidence of the inclusive community environment he worked tirelessly to build.

Parishioners of the church were talking and laughing with area Muslims who had come to honor their friend, the longtime Naperville activist. Woodridge Police Chief Brian Cunningham prepared to play "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes, while the church's praise choir performed a rousing welcoming hymn, attendees of all races clapping to the music.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Allen was shot to death a little after 2 a.m. Dec. 2 while driving in his car on the 1300 block of North Laramie Avenue in Chicago's Austin neighborhood, where he had been visiting friends and playing cards. Chicago police say the investigation into the shooting continues, but they do not have any suspects or information about a possible motive.

The Rev. James Miller called the service "not a moment of defeat" but instead an opportunity to "celebrate a great soldier."

"There are no short lives, for each is given an appointment. We are celebrating a well lived life," Miller said.

Allen was active in the DuPage County NAACP and served as a Democratic precinct committeeman. He was also deeply involved in a police-community relations improvement initiative called Unity Partnership.

Shoaib Khadri of the Islamic Center of Naperville, who worked with Khadri in the Unity Partnership, called Allen a "dear friend who was a champion of social justice, who stood for values of tolerance, peace and justice."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Along with Khadri, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster was among those who spoke at the service. Family members said the Naperville Democrat was among the many who called to comfort Allen's wife of more than 50 years, Carol Jean Allen.

Foster noted that the circumstance of Allen's death was exactly what Allen was fighting to change, working to make communities around the area more uniformly safe.

"This in truth wasn't completely random," Foster said, a nod to the Austin neighborhood's high levels of gun violence. "It is that kind of injustice that Ron dedicated his life to fighting," Foster said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the DuPage NAACP were among those who submitted formal resolutions honoring Allen that were read at the service.

This was not the first time DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church was thrust into the spotlight by the death of one of its members. Last year, it honored 28-year-old member Sandra Bland of Naperville, who died in a Texas jail cell following a conflict with police that began after she was pulled over for a minor traffic violation.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.