Saying Farwell to Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham

(Councilmember Jim Graham participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new field renovations at the Park View Recreation Center on March 23, 2013).

Last week, we learned the very sad news of the passing of former Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham. The DC Council has announced the following schedule for those wanting to say their final farewells — and I know there are many in the community:

Former Councilmember Jim Graham Farewell

Friday, June 23, 2017

Councilmember Graham’s body will lay in state at the Wilson Building from noon to 5PM.

Program Begins at Noon with the arrival of remains. Elected Officials, Dignitaries and Special Guests will deliver remarks.

* Bow Ties Encouraged

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Viewing and Religious Services for Councilmember Graham will be held at All Souls Unitarian Church (1500 Harvard Street, NW). The Viewing will be at 10AM, and the Religious Services will begin at noon. Immediately following the services, there will be a repast in the Church’s Multi-Purpose Room. Food and soft drinks will be available. Bow Ties are encouraged.

Flowers and cards may be sent to: Bacon Funeral Home, 3447 14th Street NW, Washington DC 20010

Many in the District knew Jim from his days as Executive Director of Whitman-Walker, and later as Councilmember for Ward 1. He was known as a fierce advocate for residents, particularly for those who needed an advocate the most. His years of service meant that there were few whose lives he hadn’t touched.

Over the past ten years in my service to the community, likewise, I found Jim extremely supportive of community priorities and someone that was eager to work with community members to achieve a better quality of life for all.

From my personal experience along Georgia Avenue, the Councilmember I knew and worked with was actively engaged with the community and MPD on issues of public safety, he was instrumental in getting the Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center on Georgia Avenue, and his support was critical in securing the land for the first phase of the Park Morton New Communities effort at Georgia and Newton. These are a few examples of the progress he brought to Ward 1, with each neighborhood having examples equally impressive to add to the list.

Projects that I was proud to work particularly close with Jim on included the Park View Recreation Center and Park View School. He lent his support to ensure that the Park View recreation center would have a new soccer field, basketball court, exercise area, and playground equipment instead of just a baseball field that no one asked for or wanted. He also supported the renovation of the small historic field house at the rec center. At the school, Jim toiled to achieve a larger phase one modernization of the Park View School building than the city originally planned or wanted to provide.

His passion for Ward 1 and a love of its people, cultures, and history was something we shared and frequently discussed.

I know I speak for many when I say that Ward 1 has not just lost someone who gave his all to ensure that every resident had a brighter future, but also a close and dear friend.

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3 Comments on “Saying Farwell to Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham”

  1. Daniel N. Says:

    Thanks for this Kent. I only crossed paths with him once or twice, but I admired and respected him, and I mourn his passing.

  2. Angry Parakeet Says:

    When I first moved to Park View in 2006, we were looking down the barrel of CUM’s plan to build a 5-story 200-bed religious-themed men’s homeless shelter. He guided neighbors through the process and assisted in heading off that disaster.

  3. HiItsNino Says:

    Nice tribute Kent – I echo the sentiment. He was also key to stopping development of the Old Soldiers Home Zone C, getting a police officer assigned to Park View specifically when there were a lot of rec center issues, getting DPW to stop neglecting our neighborhood, and was huge with our fight against Central Union Mission, to which he worked for a solution that suited both sides.


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