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CHICAGO, Dec. 2, 2019—The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement regarding the passing of influential pastor and civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Clay Evans:

The Rev. Dr. Clay Evans embodied the struggle for equal rights and justice in Chicago—for his congregation at Fellowship Missionary Baptist, and for our entire city.

As a pastor and leader in the Black community, he held many roles for the people he served. He was a father to some, friend to others. To others, he was a mentor or a confidant in times of need, and for many, simply a voice singing them through the wilderness of sorrow. No matter the purpose, the Rev. Dr. Evans was unwavering in his devotion to his cause and his people. “Fellowship” was not just a moniker, but how he viewed the gathering of those who came before him in search of spiritual guidance and fulfillment, and those who were dedicated to uplifting the Black experience in Chicago and across the country.

The Rev. Dr. Evans lived as he led, from his humble roots in Tennessee, to his support for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts to improve the lives and living conditions of working class Black residents of our city. Our union sends condolences to his friends and family, as well as to the clergymen and clergywomen he has influenced. Our lives are greater because of his work.