Mayor Lee Brand released the following statement on the death of Joe Williams, Fresno’s first elected African-American city councilman:
“Joe Williams was a pioneer in our community, a true visionary who overcame discrimination to become Fresno’s first African-American councilmember. He dedicated his career to transforming our city into a place where opportunity is available to everyone.
“I didn’t know him well, but I was very much aware of his sterling reputation as a businessman and civic leader, and a guiding force at the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission for decades. My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. He helped our city dream and he will be missed.”