A funeral was held today for Wanda Alston, a prominent feminist activist and director of DC Mayor Anthony Williams’ new Office of LGBT Affairs. Alston, 45, was killed in her home on March 16 in an apparent homicide. An overflow crowd of elected officials, leaders, community members, and activists gathered together today to celebrate Alston’s life.
“I’m so proud of all that she did in her life – all the fight for Women/LGBT/Human/Civil Rights that was in her, all her struggles, all of her successes, all that was still to be,” said Alice Cohan, political director of the Feminist Majority and former political director of NOW, who spoke at a memorial service on Saturday for members of the LGBT and allies community. “She will be sorely missed.”
Prior to her position in the Mayor’s Office, Alston worked at the National Organization for Women from 1992 to 1996 and served as a national board member from 1998 to 2000. She also worked at the Human Rights Campaign and established a political consulting firm. Most recently, she organized the first city-wide LGBT summit to be held April 30.
“When she plugged into feminist activism, I think she found a whole new world overall – whether it was LGBT, civil rights, DC statehood, or electoral politics,” said former NOW President Patricia Ireland, who remained a friend of Alston’s until her death. “She was an organizer like the rest of us and did it to keep her balance in an unjust world.” Current NOW President Kim Gandy remembers Alston as someone who “always kept things interesting with her energy for life.”
Honorary pallbearers included Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and former president of NOW; Gandy; Ireland; Senator John Kerry (D-MA); Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Mayor Williams; Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); and Democratic strategist and Ms. columnist Donna Brazile, among many other elected officials and leaders. Alston is survived by her longtime partner Stacey Long.
READ & SUBMIT tributes to Wanda Alston at www.now.org