Dedan Gills (August 21, 1945–December 20, 2015) is co-author, with Belvie Rooks, of I Give You the Springtime of My Blushing Heart: A Poetic Love Song, and he is featured in our award-winning book, The Power of Love: A Transformed Heart Changes the World.
Dedan described himself as a “soulutionary.” He was a poet and active member for eight years in one of the first urban intentional environmental communities in the country—the L.A. Eco-Village. Certified in Permaculture, he was a founding member of the L.A. Permaculture Guild. His poems have appeared in the International Sufi Association Journal. Born in Watts, California, Dedan was instrumental in the formation of the Black Student Alliance movement in Southern California and for a time was a member of the Black Panther Party. The demise of the Black Liberation movement was followed by years of despair while trying to find his activist footing on a different ground. He became an unrelenting advocate for human rights and Mother Earth. Dedan worked to integrate principles of permaculture design, sustainability, environmental awareness, and the greening of the inner spirit for healing and recovery. He gave tirelessly to groups of people abandoned by mainstream culture—the homeless and those suffering from addiction and incarceration. He touched many souls while actively and simultaneously addressing their physical, material, and emotional wounds. As he was known to say, “Things come and go, but the soul is eternal. When souls embrace, it is like a kiss that lasts forever!”
In December, 2022, his poem “I AM” was featured as the Daily Meditation by the Center for Action and Contemplation. The poem is published in our Springtime book, and is featured on the CAC website here.
For Dedan’s impact on Science and Urban Farming in South Los Angeles, read this article in Commonweal (2021).