Mayor's Office Press Release
Mayor Turner's Statement on the Death of John Bland, Labor Leader and Civil Rights Pioneer
July 12, 2020 -- "I am saddened to hear that Houston lost a giant in the civil rights and labor movement. John Bland was a humble but fearless man who devoted nearly his entire life to making our community better for everyone.
"He retired last December as the Administrative Vice President at Transport Workers of America Local 260 AFL-CIO, but he never stopped working for what he believed. John fought to secure a seat at the table for labor and to give them a voice during the decision-making process; he demanded respect, fairness, and equal opportunity for every worker.
"From an early age, John was an inspiring leader. While a student at Texas Southern University in the sixties, John helped lead the first sit-in at the Weingarten Supermarket lunch counter. His passionate advocacy led to the desegregation of the lunch counters and other businesses throughout Houston.
"After I was first elected mayor and appointed my transition team, I asked John to serve on the Traffic and Transportation committee because I valued his advice and friendship. I thank John Bland for all that he did to make Houston better, not for himself, but for those who worked alongside him and followed in his footsteps. I encourage Houstonians to learn more about John and his legacy. History of John Bland.
"On behalf of the City of Houston, I extend my deepest condolences to John's loving wife, children, grandchildren, friends, and former colleagues. John has fought a good fight, finished the course and kept the faith. He deserves our respect and gratitude."