By Melanie Nathan, January 30, 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 6.10.18 PMAs a past Vice Chair of Fair Housing of Marin I wanted to post this tribute to Morrie Turner, Nationally Syndicated Cartoonist and creator of WEE PALS. WEE PALS was the first syndicated comic strip to portray characters of diverse backgrounds and to bring diversity into the world of cartoons in the United States. This is FHOM’s tribute:

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 6.13.55 PMAs a Northern California resident, Morrie shared his many talents generously with Fair Housing of Marin to support the shared goal of integrated communities free of discrimination.  As a long-time supporter and friend of the fair housing agency, he participated for many years in the annual Fair Housing Poster Contest Awards Ceremony held in the Board of Supervisors chambers in the Civic Center, a Fair Housing of Marin education program promoting equality and diversity in housing to elementary and middle school children.

With his charming smile and amazing speed and dexterity, Morrie created original cartoons for each of the poster contest winners. Kids lined up enthusiastically and in just minutes, Morrie sketched inventive and charming caricatures that delighted the children. He even drew a cartoon of one of the Supervisors when she wasn’t looking.

Morrie also created a beautiful coloring book for elementary school children.  Each cartoon in the story was integrated with kids of different cultures, races and ethnic backgrounds. Morrie allowed Fair Housing of Marin to print and reprint the coloring book for distribution through its many school education programs.

Fair Housing of Marin staff recognizes the passing of a great artist and gentle soul who touched the lives of many Marin children and families and made millions of readers around the country laugh while promoting a message of diversity, respect, and integration.  Morrie’s legacy lives on through his beautiful work and spirit — we salute him.

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