HOUSTON – The community is mourning the death of Gerry Monroe, who was widely regarded as a fierce fighter for students in the Houston Independent School District, often taking on the Board for various issues.
Many say the outspoken activist was a force to be reckoned with, taking over the microphone at HISD board meetings and demanding change.
He often said that part of his mission was to hold people accountable, and he did not hold back on expressing his thoughts and getting his point across.
Some of his most recent causes he was passionate about included the controversial Texas Education Agency takeover and fighting for the reinstatement of former Jack Yates High School principal Tiffany Guillory. Thanks, in part, to community support, Guillory was placed back at the helm of Yates, which was Monroe’s alma mater.
The “big guy” with the “big voice” was often seen proudly wearing his Yates letterman jacket at HISD and community appearances.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee shared her thoughts after news of his passing swept social media.
“My deepest sympathy to his family and friends — we will continue to keep them in our prayers. Thank you to the late Gerry Monroe — may he rest in peace,” @JacksonLeeTX18 posted, followed by another post which read, “The community knows how hard Gerry Monroe fought for our children’s education. He was a strong believer in quality education and he was never to be silenced in the fight to provide our children a better education. He never gave up!”
My deepest sympathy to his family and friends — we will continue to keep them in our prayers. Thank you to the late Gerry Monroe — may he rest in peace.— Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) April 30, 2023
Many have expressed their condolences and remembrances of Monroe, also known as the “5 Star General, on social media. See feed.
Read one of his last speeches given at the HISD board meeting on April 13, in which he suggested that God stepped in to correct what some feel are longstanding issues within the district.
“I implore the Board not to pass the budget that is proposed. It’s not going to work. I’ve got principals on my phone all day long, whoever put that together, it’s not going to work.
“TEA is not taking over HISD. God is, he’s tired. For over 40 to 50 years, we have neglected kids. We have stolen money. We have not done things the right way. It’s not TEA, but he is sending the commissioner through like a thief in the night because now it’s time and it’s no more talking.
Click HERE to watch video of the April 13 speech.
“So, I’ve been out talking to my community. It’s no time for marching. It’s no time for protesting. What it is time for, is it is time to educate them. It is time to partner with the people that have to take over this school district to right this ship. It is not going to happen in two years, it is going to take four to five, it may take longer, but my community is prepared to stand tough and deal with it because I have made them understand one thing: we are going to have to go through hell to get back to heaven.
“Every one of these kids, no matter what their race may be, they are entitled to a free appropriate education. The school system is the problem. The administrations, with the stealing of the money and all the extra stuff that came; I’ve been telling folks, some people on the board, you need to go. But some people on the board, they should not have to, but the way the law is set up, it is what it is. It is time to move on and it is time for us to get to a better place, but I will say again, TEA is not taking over HISD, God is, because you cannot continue to abuse children and think that he will sit back and allow that to happen.
“I was coming with theatrics tonight, but I am not. Let it go. Get out of His way, and let God do what needs to be done.”
Monroe was also the host of his own show, which aired on social media and Youtube, and also ran for Harris County Commissioner Precinct 1.
According to a biography posted on Ballotpedia, Monroe was born in Houston and graduated from Jack Yates Sr. High School in 1986. He earned an associate degree from Central Texas College in 2020. Monroe’s career experience includes working as a political consultant and education advocate. He has owned his own business and has been the executive director of The United Urban Alumni Alliance.
His cause of death has not yet been released to the public.
More coverage on TEA takeover, an issue that Monroe was passionate about: