Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, a former Santa Barbara Poet Laureate, author, poet, activist, and teacher, passed away this weekend. She was 80 years old.
In late October, Rolle was placed at Serenity House for hospice care due to her long battle with cancer.
“Sojourner and her husband Rod Rolle, longtime community artist and activist, have always believed in the power of community and devoted their lives to investing in programs and arts, for their community,” a community fundraising page states. “At this stage in Sojourner’s life, we are asking for their community to come together and support her and her husband as they navigate several medical bills and end-of-life planning. No donation is too small or big, we are grateful for whatever you can provide.”
A 40-year resident of Santa Barbara, Rolle is a well known poet, playwright, and cultural activist. She has worked for UCSB, the County of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Independent, and countless other community-centered organizations.
She served a two-year term as Santa Barbara’s Poet Laureate (2015 – 2017) and she is a 2021 Congressional Woman of the Year – an honor by Congressman Salud Carbajal. More recently, she published a children’s book, “Free At Last” that showcases her almost 20-year-old poem on Juneteenth.
Rolle is described as a truth-teller who connects community members of all ages who volunteered her time to be a historian for the Black Santa Barbara Community and has been heavily involved in the Juneteenth Santa Barbara and Healing Justice Santa Barbara organizations.
“Through multiple school and public programs, she uses her craft to engage poets, and everyone. It is community members like Sojourner that make Santa Barbara County special and her energy has touched thousands of lives for the positive,” the fundraising page states.
Donations can be made to Rolle’s family here.