Richard Van Slyke, !Presente!, 1944-2013


(APN) ATLANTA — Richard Van Slyke, an Atlanta-based progressive activist and documentary filmmaker, has passed away at the age of 68, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.  Van Slyke had a stroke and passed away last week, according to his son, Ian Van Slyke.

Van Slyke was best known in activist circles as a documentary filmmaker with his company, Roaming Video, and for showing up at events with his video camera.

He produced a documentary called the Right to Count that dealt with the issue of elections integrity and the problems and uncertainties with electronic voting in the State of Georgia.

“It was the only one [E-voting documentary] ever done that I can recall that was specific to Georgia,” Garland Favorito of VoterGA told APN.

“He was constantly filming… meetings, a variety of things, wherever we were having an event, he would be there to film it,” Favorito said.

“He was a real asset to the movement, and we certainly appreciate everything he did and his videos were quite unique and very helpful to our movement,” Favorito said.

“I recall using one or two of his videos in the VoterGA lawsuit case that went to the Georgia Supreme Court.  We had evidence that we would not have been able to present had it not been for his videos,” Favorito said.

“He donated copies to VoterGA, so we could give them out to contributors, when they made a donation.  He was very generous with his work, and I’m sure he never got the full value of the effort that he put into it.  He was not really looking to make money as he was getting the word out about things that were wrong and how they needed to be corrected,” he said.

Van Slyke also had a strong interest in issues of poverty and homelessness and was a strong supporter of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.  

Van Slyke in recent years had been working on a documentary, in which Van Slyke also took footage related to the demolition of Atlanta’s public housing communities.

However, he never completed the documentary.  

“He had been working on this new one for quite some time… That will never be finished,” Ian Van Slyke told APN.

Van Slyke had dual citizenship between the US and France and he spoke with a strong French accent.

Van Slyke grew up in Morocco and first moved to the US when he was nineteen years old to attend the University of South Dakota.  After graduating, he left the US again, living in France and well as Qatar.

He moved to the US for good in 1984, and moved to Atlanta in 1989.

For work, his most recent occupation involved setting up audio visual equipment for conferences at hotels.

But his work as an activist and videographer was what he was most passionate about.

“It meant a lot to him.  That was really – that was the thing he was interested in most.  He was interested in anything that had any injustice in it,” Ian Van Slyke said.

“Politically, he saw a lot of things that he saw wrong in this country.  He wanted to bring to life some of this stuff.  He was very meticulous in researching the topic, and he found a lot of things to talk about,” Ian Van Slyke said.

“He used to go out a lot and be very social,” he added, noting one of his favorite restaurant was Apres Diem, located in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood.

He is survived by two sons, Christopher and Ian.

A non-religious memorial service will be held at the Mayes Ward-Dobbins funeral chapel this Saturday, March 16, 2013, at 4pm, located at 180 Church St, Marietta, Georgia 30060.

In addition, an informal gathering of friends and family will take place next Tuesday March 19, at 7pm upstairs at the Sound Table, located at 483 Edgewood Ave, Atlanta, Georgia 30312.


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