After a fight with cancer, Jon Kest, a New York City community leader and highly regarded social justice activist, passed away Wednesday. He was 57.
The news comes just a few weeks after Kest's 23-year-old daughter, Jessie Streich-Kest, was killed by a falling tree during Hurricane Sandy.
She had been walking her dog with friend Jacob Vogelman. Vogelman was also killed.
Jon Kest was the executive director of NY Communities for Change, formerly known as ACORN, an organization that works to aid New Yorkers without good access to affordable housing and education.
"Our hearts go out to Jon's wife Fran, their son Jake, and the entire Kest family,” said NYCC board chair Marie Pierre, according to The New York Daily News.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called Kest a "good friend" and said that he was "deeply saddened" by the news of his death.
"It's not an exaggeration to say that there have been few efforts to empower poor and working people in New York State in the last 25 years that haven't borne his imprint," Schneiderman said. "New York has lost a truly selfless champion of social justice.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also expressed her condolences. From her Facebook page:
Saddened by the loss of Jon Kest. He was a tireless advocate and a true champion for equality and justice. New Yorkers lost a passionate voice for those who so often are voiceless. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his colleagues at New York Communities for Change for continuing his fight.
Kest once blogged for HuffPost, offering his support for the Occupy Wall Street movement back in September 2011, citing the need to help working class families and fix the "levels of inequity" in both the nation and New York City.