By Paul Cobb
David Glover, the executive director of OCCUR (Oakland Citizens’ Committee for Urban Renewal) brought renewal to every neighborhood in Oakland because he taught neighborhood leaders the skills to become advocates for equity and improvement. He died Wednesday May 22, at home in the care of his wife Robin Bailer-Glover and his two sons Drew and Trent.
Mayor Jean Quan ordered the flag to be flown at half mast at the request of City Council member Desley Brooks who said David “touched so many people and helped thousands more. Our City is in mourning and in recognition of Glover’s impactful leadership throughout the city.” County officials plan to honor Glover later. Congresswoman Barbara Lee said in a statement from Washington “David has been a driving force in revitalizing neighborhoods and communities throughout the Greater Oakland/Bay Area region. As the Executive Director of OCCUR, he initiated key projects and policies such as the Eastmont Technology Center, the Neighborhood Profiles, the Oakland Equity Policy and the “A Model Built on Faith” program.”
Because of his gracious and considerate demeanor coupled with a polite but fervent activism, David had attained the rare respect that every public official or community leader wished for. He was considered everybody’s best friend. Even those who opposed his policies or faced his persuasive advocacy walked away with respect, envy and admiration for how well he could present the issues. He and his organization taught thousands of neighborhood, faith and community-based organizations how to successfully implement good grantsmanship skills. He knew where the money and other community resources were located and he was unafraid to challenge the largest banks, investment houses, insurance companies, foundations and government regulatory agencies to grant those funds or change the rules to allow low-income residents to migrate across markets. “David was a rainmaker”, said Dr J. Alfred Smith, Sr., “He taught churches to become partners in the processes of community building and community development.”
Robert Gnaizda, the co-founder of the Greenlining Coalition said David Glover was one of the country’s most gifted advocates for economic justice. Arnold Perkins, former County Public Health Director praised Glover for using “his extraordinary gifts to care for others and build his community.”
“David was considerate and inclusive. He respected everyone,” said former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport.
Elected officials, or those aspiring to be, sought his endorsement or photo opportunity. Congresswoman Lee said, “When I met David many years ago, I immediately recognized the depth of his intellect and his indomitable spirit. I was deeply humbled when he endorsed me early in my campaign for the California State Legislature. I knew his endorsement commanded the respect and trust of voters. For that, I will be forever grateful.”
It was at OCCUR’s 50th Anniversary dinner that Black Caucus Chair, Geoffrey Pete called for a public draft of Ron Dellums, the dinner’s keynote speaker. Many of the leaders left the dinner wondering if they should have also drafted Glover for Mayor. David later graciously turned down Dellums’ request to be his chief of staff because he wanted to spend more time with his parents, wife and sons.
Rev. Frank Pinkard credits OCCUR for assisting Evergreen with their Senior Housing Project. Elder D.J. Williams, pastor of the Wings of Love Maranatha Ministries said OCCUR helped them build housing in East Oakland. Rev. Ray Williams, an OCCUR board member, said Glover selflessly helped every community group, even at the expense of sacrificing OCCUR’s own needs. “We must carry on and sustain OCCUR by requesting many of those who’ve received help from OCCUR to step up and keep the organization vibrant.”
Dan Cahn, former Oakland Community Information Service Director, who partnered the grantwriting workshops with OCCUR said “David Glover was a ‘Yes Can Do Guy’; he always saw the glass as half full and encouraged others to be open thinkers and positive contributors. I remember coming to him with ideas that would bring more Community Based Organizations into a Grant Writing Program OCIS sponsored. He was the one who suggested making it a Cable TV Program. Many Oakland residents owe their first career break to David Glover’s rich network of friends and professionals who respected him for his wisdom, integrity and sincerity. When David asked you for a favor it was impossible to ignore because you knew he would do whatever it took to help you. Let’s not forget to help OCCUR, his favorite charity.”
Gay Plair Cobb, ceo of the Oakland Private Industry Council said “David has been a consistent and courageous voice for the PIC, the unemployed and the communities we serve. He stood for us, he stood by us, and we celebrate and honor the life of our brother David Glover. His compassion, dedication, smile, and infectious spirit are indelibly imprinted upon our hearts. To his family, we offer our most profound sympathy, and to David we say rest in peace and power, loved one.”
David was born in St. Louis, Missouri on July 15, 1952. He was 60.He graduated from Beaumont High School and Howard University with a degree in Journalism.He moved to Oakland, where his sister Angela Glover Blackwell and her husband Dr. Fred Blackwell resided. He was hired by the Bay Area Urban League to help people find jobs. He then found a job at OCCUR and was hired by Paul Cobb to become the Director of Oakland Pride Project. In 1982 he became the Executive Director of OCCUR. During the past 30 years David led OCCUR in publishing neighborhood profiles and histories of every community in the city.
He married Robin Bailer in 1984. She is the principal of Dewey High School in Oakland.
Glover’s family announced that a memorial service will be held Saturday, June 1 at the First Presbyterian Church at 27th and Broadway in downtown Oakland. Geoffrey Pete announced that his holiday feeding for Oakland’s homeless and needy families will be held on Memorial Day in honor David Glover at 410 14th Street, in downtown Oakland.