Passing of Marion Barry

STATEMENT OF COUNCIL CHAIRMAN PHIL MENDELSON ON THE PASSING OF COUNCILMEMBER MARION S. BARRY

I speak for all members of the Council in stating our sadness at the passing of Marion Barry, and expressing our condolences to his family.  Mr. Barry was a member of the Council – dating back to the 1970s – as long as he was Mayor.  But his efforts on behalf of District residents lasted much longer.

Mr. Barry was a voice on the Council for human rights and civil rights.  He championed policies to help those who were most in need: "the last, the lost, and the least," as he put it.  Most recently he fought to restore benefits to families on welfare.  It was issues like this where he was persistent and passionate.  His voice will be missed.

There isn't a member of the Council who has not benefited from knowing and working with Mr. Barry -- whether it was his skill to connect personally with residents, his persistence, his political acumen, or his ability to go from opponent to ally depending on the issue.

Mr. Barry taught us about fighting for justice and fighting for the poor.  It now becomes our responsibility to keep his legacy alive.

The Council will take all appropriate steps to honor Mr. Barry and celebrate his life.  An announcement will be forthcoming about his lying in state.