On Thursday, December 17, hundreds attended a memorial service to celebrate the ‘too-brief life’ of an un-common man.
Not many knew him by his family name, “William Henry Jacocks—that sounded way too formal. Generally, he was referred to as Bill or Bill Jacocks by some and by his African name, Shadidi, by others; however, most recognized him by his chosen name, “Ratibu”.
They all came, Athiests, Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Protestants, and others. Some entered a foreign place of worship for the first time. The celebration was held in a borrowed sanctuary, the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, not the Temple Missionary Baptist Church where Ratibu was a long-time Sunday school teacher. The celebration was not held at his home church because there was not enough room at the inn to accommodate all of the attendees.
During the service, many in attendance spoke of Ratibu’s full life and cited numerous examples of his good works and expansive influence. Testimony was given to his service as a U. S. Army infantryman; his role as an operator of a local small business; his service as a missionary; his promotion of entrepreneurship in the Black community; and, his leadership of the Inland Area Kwanzaa Group and Kwanzaa Consciousness.
Ratibu was also involved civically and held a leadership role in the Westside Action Group. His broad participation in other civic activities was praised by dozens of officials who stood to acknowledge his role in their success.
Of course, the core story of his life could not be told without acknowledging his love of, for and within his family.
Yes, they came in large numbers, state, county, regional and local officials, leaders from every walk of life, family members, neighbors and friends. They came to recognize, honor and celebrate the life of a true advocate and community leader, Bill Ratibu Jacocks.