Nelson Johnny Jones, who was a legislative community organizer for the Service Employees International Union Local 668 died on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. Jones was 73.
Jones worked five years as a legislative liaison for the union. As a cook at Somerton Center, he became involved in the SEIU during contract negotiations. He showed up at every session and fought for his small group of cooks to win a fair contract. Nelson worked as an MPO (Member Political Organizer) for Gov. Tom Wolf’s second term.
In recent months, he worked as a legislative liaison for the union’s nursing home campaigns. He was pivotal in the passing of legislation in City Council for ‘Healthcare Facilities Change of Ownership,’ an issue that impacted his workplace four times in the last three years.
He was passionate about justice and doing the right thing. His desire to be a positive influence in his North Philadelphia community was motivated by meeting with legendary leader Malcolm X. Afterwards, he made it a priority to become an example for youth. He joined the Black Panther Party and was a member throughout the 70’s, but stayed true to the ideologies that the party represented throughout his lifetime.
Jones was also a leader of his local ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) Chapter in North Philadelphia for several years. He served on the ACORN executive board. His leadership was key to several campaigns.
Nelson and his wife Sharon started a neighborhood bakery, and a community garden that produced fruits and vegetables that were for the surrounding underserved communities.
His accomplishments also included starting a mentoring program for young men called ‘BRIC’ (Building and Restoring in the Community).
Nelson was a leader among his 12 siblings. He is survived by his wife Sharon, his seven children, 10 siblings and a host of nieces and nephews. He left his mark on his family and the community that he served.
There was a viewing from 10 to 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 11, at Francis Funeral Home, 5201 Whitby Ave. The service began at 11 a.m.