A big loss for the North Carolina progressive movement

Our friend and occasional Policy Watch contributor Erin Byrd sends along the following about the passing of long-time North Carolina Fair Share director, Rev. Lynice Williams (Independent Weekly also has a nice tribute here): 

I am very sorry to share with you that our dear friend and soldier for justice the Rev. Lynice Williams passed on Saturday, March 10. She will be deeply missed by all that worked with her and loved her. Please pray for her family and friends.

Rev. Lynice R. Williams

Born, to the late Ira and Mary Ramsey on December 8th, 1948. She was raised in Queens NY.

Rev. Williams is survived by her devoted husband of 47 years the Rev. James Williams Sr., two children Latrece Williams-McKnight (Lynn), Chesapeake VA, and James Williams Jr. (Mirenda) Raleigh N.C.; one sister Iris Ramsey-Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas)  three brothers; Manior Ramsey (New York, N.Y), Paul Ramsey (Phylis) Hempsted, N.Y, Harold Ramsey (Vicki) Brooklyn, NY; five grandchildren Lynice McKnight, Lynn McKnight Jr., China Diamond,Trinity Williams, James Williams lll; two great grandchildren Kynneth McKnight and Jenell Valez; two God children Akiba Hausson Byrd Jr, Jai Ali Byrd and a host of nieces, nephews cousins and friends.

She joined the House of the Pentecostal Church at the age of 17. After moving to North Carolina she became a faithful Disciple and Minister at Christian Faith Baptist Church where she served as Chair of the Aids Ministry. She was faithful and full of love for the Lord.

Rev. Williams was the  Executive Director of NC Fair Share for 24 years. NC Fair Share was  established in 1987 to bring together people within communities impacted  by injustice in health care, the environment, the economy and voting rights to work on their own behalf for solutions to these issues toward a fairer NC.

NC Fair Share members fought and won numerous victories including forcing Edgecombe County to reopen health care clinics to serve those in need in their community, push the Town of Holly Springs to extend water and sewer lines to communities whose water was contaminated, worked with coalition partners to enact the Judicial Public Campaign Financing legislation. Fair Share was a Historic Thousands on Jones Street partner organization and a key partner that fought for the Healthcare Reform Act to be passed. Rev. Williams initiated and led the four year statewide campaign to win Same Day Registration (SDR) at Early Voting Sites in 2007, the first legislation of this kind to become law in the South.

A lasting legacy of Rev. Williams work at North Carolina Fair Share will be all that she and the organization have done to champion health care access and justice for all North Carolinians. She and the organization worked tirelessly and effectively in the community and at the legislature to promote quality, affordable health care for all, expand health care access in rural areas,address persistent racial disparities, and expand coverage for women, children and all those unable to afford this basic human right.

It took more than 100 years of trying to win health care reform, and Rev. Williams was one of the tireless and committed leaders who did so much to make it happen. That’s an accomplishment, and a legacy, that anyone who believes that everyone should get their fair share would be proud to call their own.

Rev. Williams is a board member of the NC Council of Churches, the co-founder of NC Environmental Justice Network, co-founder of the NC Welfare Reform Collaborative that helped welfare recipients shape the welfare reform legislation, and Grassroots Energy Alliance. She has received numerous awards including Raleigh News and Observer’s “Tar Heel of the Week” and The Independent Weekly’s “Citizen’s Award,” and NC Fair Share was named a 2007 NC Justice Center “Defender of Justice” in the category of Grassroots Empowerment.

Rev. Lynice Williams was a champion. She believed deeply and fought passionately for health care as she knew it to be a human right. She had deep love for our community. She insisted that those impacted by the problem be at the table to craft the solution. She was gracious and loving. She always had a smile to offer and a kind word of encouragement. The movement for justice and liberation and human rights has lost one of its Generals. She will be missed.

In lieu of flowers memorial gifts should be made to NC Fair Share. Her services will be held on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 at Christian Faith Baptist Church. The viewing will begin at 11:00 am and the funeral services will start at 12:00 noon.

Christian Faith Baptist Church
509 Hilltop Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610-4619
(919) 833-5834

NC Fair Share
3824 Barrett Dr # 312  
Raleigh, NC 27609

Tribute Website:

Rev. Lynice Williams

Age: 63
Position: Executive Director NC Fair Share
Education: New York City Public Schools; Bachelors’s Degree in Business Administration, New York University, 1972; some graduate courses since moving to Raleigh
Certification of Completion: John Maxwell Team, Leadership Development
Career: WakeMed, department of human resources, 1977-86; Assistant Director NC Hunger Coalition, 1987-88, Director NC Fair Share 1988-present.
Hobbies: sewing. listening to inspirational music, reading and church activities
Books Now Reading: The Bible, The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership, John C. Maxwell  



  1. Adam Searing

    March 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Lynice was a longtime leader in fighting for better health care for all North Carolinians. She will be sorely missed.

  2. Jack

    March 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    When I first moved to Raleigh I had the good fortune of meeting and getting to know Lynice. I don’t know what else to say.

  3. Lisa Finaldi

    March 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I was on the NC Fair Share board in its early days and Lynice was one of the most positive activists working for justice that I have ever met. And she just made you remember that you could accomplish whatever you set out to do with a positive spirit. She was an amazing force.

  4. […] of the North Carolina Council of Churches at the time of her passing. Theses words about her on Progressive Pulse reflect the depth of her commitment to true justice for […]

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