Former Democratic Chair and schools activist Charles Rolland dies at 61

Charles Rolland, a former Democratic Party Chair, Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Norm Rice and public schools organizer, has passed away at the age of 61.

From the Washington Democrats:

Today, we were saddened to learn about the passing of Charles Rolland, great Democrat and former Washington State Democrats Chair. Charles served as State Party Chair from 1993 to 1995 and most recently was a community organizer and owner of a public affairs consulting practice.

Before becoming State Democratic Party Chair, Charles served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Seattle Mayor Norm Rice. He was at the center of many major political events in the state, filling the strategic advisor role for a number of campaigns, businesses, public figures, elected officials and initiatives.

He was the founder of Community and Parents for Public Schools of Seattle, a parent led education advocacy group. In addition, Charles worked with the small contractor community, partnering with the public and private sector to develop policies and programs that will increase the utilization of small economically disadvantaged construction businesses.

Charles is a parent of three, all graduates of Seattle Public schools. He devoted his life to public service and to the empowerment of people and communities, especially youth.

Charles will be missed – This is a great loss to the Democratic community.

Rolland’s wife, Jackie Moscou, is the Artistic Director at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. In a statement, Mayor McGinn wished her and the rest of Rolland’s family his condolences:

I was deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of Charles Rolland. In his capacity as Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Norm Rice and in his work in the community, he provided leadership to make our city a better and more just place. He worked hard to address issues of race and social justice, education and closing the achievement gap, providing opportunities for minority and women owned businesses, police accountability, and standing together in support of immigrants and refugees. Seattle has lost an important voice. I will miss his friendship, his advice, and his passion for people. I offer my sincere condolences to his wife Jacqueline Moscou, their three children and his family.

11 thoughts on “Former Democratic Chair and schools activist Charles Rolland dies at 61

  1. Information for Charles Rolland
    Viewing Friday, March 16th from 5-8 pm at Southwest Morturary, 9021 Rainier Avenue South
    Services on Friday, March 23rd at 12:30 pm at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Ave., Seattle

  2. I think many who knew Charles in this community will also have known Anthony Matlock. Therefore, I am posting his memorial information here too. This is not a good plan but a sad set of circumstances.

    Information on Anthony Matlock
    Viewing Wednesday, March 14th from 1-5 pm at Bonney Watson, 1732 Broadway in Seattle
    Services on Thursday, March 15th at 11:00 am, also at Bonney Watson

  3. Success is a journey, not a destination. Charles Rolland show us the way to unite and serve our community with commitment and love.
    Daigre Family

  4. Charles was a good neighbor, and it was always a treat to run into him. He carried a lot of sunshine with him, and Lord knows, there’s never enough sunshine.

  5. Charles Rolland was a leader with conviction. He stood in the gap to make government work for the people. We will miss his wisdom and strength.

  6. These two men were dynamic forces for Norm Rice’s successful mayoral bid and tenure. Through Charles I got to meet a lot of influential people, saw heroes in my home town, and saw how tough “we” could be politically!

    There was also a great deal of love that these two men gave to their families and all those they encountered.

    A truly big whole has been left by them, but these two men have influenced & prepared many people, who will rise to the occasion, not to fill their shoes but to continue work in public & community service!

  7. These two gentlemen were friends of mine. Didn’t talk to them often, but every time we met it was good. They both supported my business and I will miss them tremendously. My prayers and support to their love ones at this difficult time.

  8. Jackie, Danielle, Marcus and Sekou,
    Our hearts are heavy and we are so sorry for the loss of a good man, father, husband and partner. His work and legacy will be the marker that he lived and lived well. He made a mark and set a standard. He will be missed. You are all in our prayers.

    may the peace that passes all understanding keep you,
    Tawnya Pettiford-Wates and Family
    Richmond, VA

  9. I am so sad. I am so so sad! Charles was a beautiful person! He brought sunshine to me whenever we spoke on the phone, (unfortunately without regularity as cell phones replaced home phones)or I saw him in person. I did not spend enough time with him. He always made me feel better about myself. I will miss him terribly from the earth. I have been thinking of him every day. I am so so sad. I love you Jackie!!!

  10. His legacy will stick around for a very long time. Charles would come into my coffee shop a few times each week for meetings and he was just the nicest guy. I was saddened to learn of this great loss. My thoughts are with his family and he will be missed greatly.