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Marion Barry dies at 78

marion-berry-thisone-from-bMarion Barry dies at 78

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — Former DC Mayor Marion Barry died on Sunday morning at the age of 78, according to his family.

The following statements have been released on his passing:

President Obama speaks on the passing of Marion Barry

“Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Marion Barry. Marion was born a sharecropper’s son, came of age during the Civil Rights movement, and became a fixture in D.C. politics for decades. As a leader with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Marion helped advance the cause of civil rights for all. During his decades in elected office in D.C., he put in place historic programs to lift working people out of poverty, expand opportunity, and begin to make real the promise of home rule. Through a storied, at times tumultuous life and career, he earned the love and respect of countless Washingtonians, and Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathies to Marion’s family, friends and constituents today.”

Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Statement on the Passing of Councilmember Marion Barry

“Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city,” said Mayor Gray. “He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him.”

Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser released the following statement:

“He has been an inspiration to so many people, and a fighter for people, and a champion for the people of Ward 8. Mr. Barry, I can say this, lived up until the minute, the way he wanted to live. He has left a strong legacy for so many young people to follow. He has left lessons about how he helped people in this city that will carry on for years and years to come.” – D.C. Councilmember and Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser.

Attorney General Eric Holder statement on Marion Barry:

“I was very saddened to hear this morning about the passing of Marion Barry. As a long time resident of Washington, D.C. I can attest to the fact that former Mayor Barry was a consequential figure in the city that I call home. His vision, and his hard work, helped to transform Washington into the world class city it now is. Mayor Barry was, as we all are, a complicated man and a person who had to deal with many personal issues. But his focus on those who are often without a voice in this community and his critical role in creating economic opportunity too long denied many of the city’s residents are significant parts of his legacy. I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Mayor Barry’s family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Statement on the passing of Marion Barry:

“CBCF is deeply saddened by the passing of Marion Barry. We honor the life and mourn the loss of a politician whose career served as a voice and champion of African Americans and people in underserved communities for generations.

“His political savvy and genuine nature brought him to the forefront of Washington, D.C. politics during the Civil Rights Movement and shaped the political and economic landscape of the city for decades. His programs to provide jobs, housing and economic opportunities have left an indelible mark on the citizens of Washington D.C.

“Our thoughts and heartfelt prayers are with Mr. Barry’s family and those whose lives he touched.”

River East Emerging Leaders (r.e.e.l.) has released the following statement on the death of Ward 8 Councilmember and former DC Mayor Marion S. Barry:

“We are indeed sadden by the sudden passing of Councilmember Marion Barry. The legendary former DC mayor and civil rights icon had an immeasurable impact on the communities of Ward 8 and our great city. DC had no bigger champion for our seniors, youth, returning citizens, minority-owned businesses, DC voting rights and jobs than Barry. A supporter of r.e.e.l., we were excited by his renewed interest in increasing economic development opportunities and homeownership levels throughout the great Ward 8. And we can’t forget how open and honest he was reflecting on his political career during several speaker series and events with r.e.e.l. members and the community.”

“While we were aware he had fallen ill recently, like he’s done so many times before, we expected the councilmember to fully recover and be back at work serving the citizens of Ward 8 and our city in no time. Instead, his journey here is now done. And as we look back on his amazing life of triumphs, challenges and redemption, we will keep his son Christopher and wife Cora Masters Barry in our thoughts during this difficult time.”

United Medical Center issued the following statement:

“This morning we are sad to announce the passing of the Honorable Marion S. Barry, Former Mayor and Councilmember of the District of Columbia. Mr. Barry was brought to United Medical Center by ambulance at 12:15am. He was pronounced dead at 1:46 a. m.

United Medical Center’s Board and Staff extend its condolences to Mr. Barry’s family, his wife Cora Barry, his son Christopher Barry, and many other relatives. We also extend our sympathy to the residents of the District of Columbia.

Mr. Barry has had a long history of social and political engagement in the District and across the nation. His advocacy on behalf of the poor, the less fortunate and others will certainly be missed.

Over the years, Councilmember Barry has maintained a strong and heartfelt resolve to keep United Medical Center open for the people east of the Anacostia River. Without his involvement and continued work on our behalf we are certain that this hospital would not be where it is today.

Mr. Barry taught us all so much about fighting for justice; fighting for the people; fighting for the poor – it now becomes our responsibility to keep his legacy alive.

May he rest in peace.”

Ward 8 Democrats Releases Statement On The Passing of Councilman Marion Barry, Former Mayor of the District of Columbia

“On behalf of the Ward 8 Democrats, Inc., I would like to express our deep feelings of shock and sadness at the passing of our Ward Democratic leader. His work on behalf of the Democratic Party has been second to none. He definitely has set the bar for all Democrats to work together on behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia, and especially those who he has fought for over the years here in Ward 8. The Ward Eight Democrats stand together in sending our condolences to his wife, his son, and other family members during this time of bereavement.”

Councilmember Anita Bonds statement on the passing of Marion Barry

With extreme regret I learned of the unexpected passing of Marion Barry, District of Columbia Councilmember, and 4-term former mayor who was my mentor, friend, political advisor and former boss. My deep condolences and prayers are extended to his son Christopher, wife Cora, other family members, and a multitude of friends, colleagues and associates.

In 1979 Marion was the right Mayor at the right time expressing compassion for the poor and the voiceless. He entered office clearly intent on giving representation to populations that were in need of a champion to help them benefit from the changing landscape of the District that was on the rise against the backdrop of social ills that beset many urban centers of America during the 1980s.

Marion was a political genius, community outreach expert, champion of the over-looked and the left-out while emphasizing the inclusion of everyone. He was a warm compassionate human being and proud public servant who was the only DC politician with coattails. While his history of accomplishments began decades prior to his entry onto the DC political scene representing the SNCC in the 1960s, even today, he remains the city’s favorite politician and truly loved by most, and many across the nation. I’ll remember him for his capacity to turn the cheek, forgive and move forward no matter the adversity. He was a remarkable, powerful, proud leader of people that will be hard to forget.

As his passing is mourned, we can be comforted in knowing that his legacy and love for the District will continue through the the renaissance of DC, which he began, and the millions of lives he touched.

Councilmember David Grosso’s Statement on the Passing of Marion Barry

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of my D.C. Council colleague. Marion Barry was a strong advocate for Ward 8 and devoted his life to the residents of Washington, D.C. His strong passion for making our city a great city was only surpassed in effort by his incredible commitment to ensuring that the poorest of our residents were never forgotten. It has been an honor for me to sit next to Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry on the dais and serve with him on the education committee for the past two years. I learned a lot about my beloved city from him and a lot about him. I will forever respect what he has done for this city in spite of his many challenges over a 40-year career. As Dr. Maya Angelou stated, “Marion Barry changed America with his unmitigated gall to stand up in the ashes of where he had fallen and come back to win.” My thoughts go out to his family and loved ones as we all mourn the loss of a true D.C. hero.”

Ward One Councilmember-elect Brianne Nadeau released the following statement about the passing of Marion Barry:

“It was with great sadness that I learned today of the passing of Marion Barry, who I had only just begun to know in recent months.

“Barry was a larger than life presence in the District of Columbia, and to our entire nation, first as a civil rights activist and later as dedicated public servant who spoke often about the power of everyday people to come together to change the world.

“His rise from being the son of a sharecropper in rural Mississippi to serving four terms as mayor and 15 years on the D.C. Council serves as an inspiring reminder of the power of the American dream. He dedicated his life to lifting up our most vulnerable residents, and never wavered in that mission.

“My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this difficult time.”

The DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Director Michael P. Kelly sends sincere condolences to the family of Marion Barry.

“This was a leader who fought for the well-being, equality, and progression of the residents of the District of Columbia. As the Mayor he positioned this city for greatness,” said Kelly. “As a Councilmember he was the voice of the unheard, the fist for the weak and tenacity of the afraid – for that we all say thank you. You are the benchmark for which all will be measured. May your soul rest in peace and your legacy live on for eternity.”

 Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, released this statement in honor of the passing of Councilman and Former Mayor Marion Barry:

“We are deeply saddened by the death of Councilman and Former Mayor Marion Barry. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, colleagues and constituents.

Marion Barry was more than a politician, he was and will forever be an icon. He spent his life fighting for those who did not know how to fight for themselves. From his days as a civil rights leader, Marion Barry ascended from the streets of the city to become Mayor of the District of Columbia. He was committed to making a difference in people’s lives – a visionary, who saw the potential of the city and believed that everyone deserved a fair opportunity to fulfill their potential.

Like so many others, I credit Marion Barry with giving me my first job, and he would remind me every time he saw me. I also credit him with being a wonderful example of what leaders of government can and should do to change lives and communities. Whether it was investing in youth employment or supporting local businesses, his impact on the city and this region will last for generations to come. The District of Columbia we see today and will experience into the future would not be where it is without him.

He is an inspiration to us all, and the people of Prince George’s County will never forget this incredible man, his legacy of service and his unwavering commitment providing a hand up to those who needed it most. He was truly a man of the people and it is why he will always be known and loved by so many as the “Mayor for Life.”

On behalf of the 900,000 residents of Prince George’s County, we send our condolences to our neighbors, our friends, and our family members in the District of Columbia for their loss.”

Prince George’s County Councilmembers:

The members of the Prince George’s County Council express profound sympathy to the family of former four-time Mayor of the District of Columbia and current Ward 8 Council Member, The Honorable Marion S. Barry, Jr. , especially to former First Lady Cora Masters Barry and his son Christopher at this most difficult time.

Mr. Barry was a tireless advocate for expanding economic opportunity to small businesses, youth and low-income families. His tenure as Mayor of the District of Columbia greatly contributed to the growth of the middle class in Prince George’s County.

We also extend our deepest sympathies to the residents of the District of Columbia, particularly those who live in Mr. Barry’s beloved Ward 8 communities, as well as to the many elected officials he served alongside, including Mayor Vincent Gray, Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and the entire D.C. City Council, as well as Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Ward 6 Councilmember-Elect Charles Allen issued the following statement on the passing of Mayor Marion Barry:

Like many people across the District, and across the nation, I was very sad to wake up to the news today of Mayor Barry’s passing.

As a student, I learned about Marion Barry’s leadership of SNCC and legacy in the civil rights movement. As a Council staffer, I worked with him on several efforts, for Ward 8 and the city. And as a Councilmember-Elect, I was looking forward to joining him on the dais to continue the work needed for all residents of the District.

Mr. Barry will forever be an icon in DC for his deep commitment to social justice and bold political leadership, as well as his personal generosity and compassion.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of us who mourn his passing.

National Coalition on Black Civic Participation Statement:

“On behalf of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Black Women’s Roundtable and Black Youth Vote!, we express our deep condolences to the Barry Family in the passing of The Honorable Marion Barry, Jr. in the city of Washington, DC that he loved so much. Marion Barry truly epitomized what public service is all about. He lived a life of service dedicated to the least, the lost and the left out.

“He was a visionary leader who changed the lives of thousands of young people through his summer jobs program, opened contracting opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses, worked to ensure seniors could retire with dignity, and so much more.

“Marion also devoted his life to civil rights and social justice for all people. The spiritual, ‘May the Works I’ve Done Speak For Me’ exemplifies the life of Marion Barry, Jr. Marion maximized his life’s dash as a servant leader from birth to death.

“Marion, you will always be remembered as ‘Mayor for Life’ because you never stopped fighting for and loving the people that you served in Washington, DC and across the nation.

“Servant leader of the people, rest in peace.”

Statement from Carol Schwartz on passing of Marion Barry

“I am shaken and saddened as I like others thought Marion Barry was invincible. We were dear friends and there for each other over the years. Marion personified DC and his passing is a great loss to all of us, especially those most in need whom he served so well. He loved DC and us. In spite of his foibles and having run against him, I loved and appreciated Marion Barry Jr. and will miss him greatly. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family, especially his son Christopher.”

Shuanise Washington, President and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) statement on Barry’s passing

“CBCF is deeply saddened by the passing of Marion Barry. We honor the life and mourn the loss of a politician whose career served as a voice and champion of African Americans and people in underserved communities for generations.

“His political savvy and genuine nature brought him to the forefront of Washington, D.C. politics during the Civil Rights Movement and shaped the political and economic landscape of the city for decades. His programs to provide jobs, housing and economic opportunities have left an indelible mark on the citizens of Washington D.C.

“Our thoughts and heartfelt prayers are with Mr. Barry’s family and those whose lives he touched.”

Statement by Ron Busby, President and CEO of U.S. Black Chambers Inc:

“The U.S. Black Chamber is deeply saddened by the loss of the Honorable Marion Barry, Jr. The former mayor and councilman have left an indelible mark on the District’s residents and business community. The 1967 formation of his organization Pride made it possible for more than 1,000 D.C. black youth to secure jobs, solidifying Barry’s pledge to jump start African American economic empowerment and redevelopment in the District.

Barry was a relentless advocate in the fight for fairness and equality for D.C.’s small and minority-owned business community. Under his early leadership, District government, for the first time, redesigned its procurement and contracting process enabling the City to experience its greatest spike in entrepreneurial growth. Barry’s commitment later fueled the mandate of set-asides for minority and women contractors, who historically had been locked out of the opportunity to compete. Barry’s leadership further drove the 1980s real estate boom, creating the District’s first convention center and what is now the Verizon Center.

The District has indeed lost one of its greatest champions for small business and the economically disenfranchised. The U.S. Black Chamber joins the District in mourning his loss, celebrating his life, and above all, saying thank you for his dedication to the black business community.”

Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille statement

“I am saddened to hear of the passing of former Mayor Marion Barry. He indeed was a rainmaker, leader, educator, civil rights activist, visionary, and an advocate for the poor, and he will be missed.

However, he will live in our memories and hearts forever, as he was instrumental in helping to revitalize Washington, D.C. as an economic engine for the entire metro region.

I enjoyed knowing and working with Marion for many years. On behalf of the entire Alexandria City Council, I extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the Barry family, and to the residents of Washington, D.C.”

DC Department of Employment Services statement on the loss of Marion Barry

“Marion Barry not only leaves a lasting legacy on the District of Columbia, but his commitment to the young people of this city can be felt nationwide by those around the country who received their first jobs through the District’s summer jobs program he created 35 years ago,” said DOES Director Tom Luparello. “Hundreds of thousands of youth have passed through both SYEP and MYLI, and Marion Barry can be credited with having the vision to help generations of District residents develop the skills, attitudes, and commitment necessary to succeed in the workforce as well as to learn life skills and responsibility that lay the foundation for how to succeed in life. He will be missed.”

DC Water General Manager George S. Hawkins statement

“Marion Barry called me just two weeks ago to advocate on behalf of a business in his ward,” reflected Mr. Hawkins. “His voice was not as strong, but his conviction and his mind were sharp as ever. He never flagged in his determination to help his constituents, and despite his stature, never hesitated to pick up the phone to talk one-on-one with me about projects in Ward 8 or a problem he thought needed my attention. A true public servant, he will be missed.”

Many of DC Water’s employees work and live in Ward 8, which is home to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant and DC Water’s headquarters.

32BJ SEIU statement

“Like other low-wage workers, the men and women who work hard cleaning and protecting District office buildings are mourning the loss of one their most passionate and reliable champions,” said Jaime Contreras, 32BJ Vice President and Capital Area Director. “Marion Barry worked relentlessly to improve the rights and lives of these workers as well as D.C.’s underserved communities.”

With more than 145,000 members in 11 states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.

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