October 20, 2018: We learned today that our dear friend, David Ayala passed away after a lengthy fight with pancreatic cancer.
David will be missed in so many ways. We will dearly remember his enthusiasm, his infectious energy, his heart, his ability to motivate, his deep sense of strategy, his commitment to building leaders, how he inspired others to be their full selves, and how he always stayed true to who he was. Throughout his life, even with challenges that many of us would find insurmountable, David remained optimistic about the future and the movement for immigrant and human rights. He was a skilled organizer, a deep and genuine listener, and a wonderful husband, father and friend.
Some of you may recall this article about David’s experience as a revolutionary in El Salvador, written by journalist and long-time OneAmerica volunteer Peter Constantini. The title “Being Tortured Has Been the Best Experience of My Life”, a quote from David, illustrates his boundless hope, his courage, his tenacity and his ability to turn even the direst experiences into profound opportunities for learning and growth, for himself and for others.
“I met David in 2006 in Seattle and later I had the opportunity to receive him in Colorado to expend time together. He was a bone in the social movement in United State. He was an immigrant from El Salvador dedicating his passion, wisdom and skill among us”. I have a lot respect for David” Ricardo Perez, HAP.
David had a tremendous impact on the communities in which he organized as a labor organizer with SEIU, as one of the organizers that launched the day laborer organizing project that became Casa Latina, as a leader that helped to create El Comite in Seattle, as the field director for the campaign that sent Pramila Jayapal to Congress, and in his time building a powerful base of immigrant leaders at OneAmerica. He has left an indelible imprint on hundreds of grassroots leaders, elected officials, and community members throughout Washington State and the nation.
We’ll miss you, David. But we became better people by virtue of your investment in time and caring in each of us. And your legacy will continue in the movement, in the institutions you built, and in the people you pushed to become more than they ever thought they could be.
Thank you, David!