The Cooley Family
Hayward High School recognized one of their greatest graduates last week on a rainy evening and unveiled a beautiful mural in honor of slain Oakland Post Editor-in-Chief, Chauncey Bailey from the class of 1967.
“The rain is Chauncey’s tears of joy,” said Chauncey’s nephew, filmmaker Amin Cooley of Los Angeles. “Chauncey was courageous, passionate and didn’t give up. He was very dedicated and stood for the little people and he made others hear their voice.”
Chauncey’s brother Errol Cooley, a retired fireman of Lincoln, California reminisced in the school’s library as he turned the black and white pages of the school year book. “It feels good to be here and it brings back a lot of good memories. This library is significant because this is where Chauncey developed his skills,” Errol stated as he pointed to his picture sporting a full afro. “It’s an honor that people are doing this for our family and that enough people loved him enough to paint a mural of him. His legacy is continuing and it shows here at the high school.”
Errol credits his brother for teaching him to draw and leading a fun neighborhood football team. “Because of Chauncey, I was able to do pen and ink artwork, oils and acrylics and when he was around he always made everything more exciting and always left you with something to think about.”
Errols’ wife Altha and son Jamil were also proud of the event. “My uncle always encouraged me to work hard and follow my passion and he stood for greatness. His life’s work and experiences are invaluable to the new generation. “This a special day for the family and the mural is beautiful,” said Altha Cooley.
Hayward High Library Supervisor Sheryle Gray, English Teacher Connie Miller, Lillian Litzsey and DaBora Lovitt of BWOPA-Hayward along with Jamil Holmes, President of the Black Student Union, worked on the mural project for three years. “Having the family here means a lot, we did this for the family,” said Litzsey. “Chauncey was a great man and his life is an inspiration to me,” said Holmes. “It’s great when the students have an idea that allows them to partner with the community,” said Hayward High School Principal George Bullis. “I’m proud they are able to see the fruits of their labor.”
Artist Ricardo Lazo of Kri8tiv N8tivz said, “I’m speechless to be a part of this and it’s an honor to paint the story of such a great person.”
Amin Cooley continued, “Our family misses Chauncey, we love him and are very happy that his death didn’t go in vain. People really care.”
Unable to attend, Mark Cooley via telephone expressed his thoughts in a speech given to his brother and says, “This is wonderful and my sister Lorilei (of Atlanta) and I are grateful for this honor.” Chauncey Bailey made an indelible mark in the world of journalism for over 4 decades prior to his death August 2, 2007. The trial for the murderers of Chauncey Bailey will begin this month in Oakland.