Jerry Clark, founder of the D.C. Statehood Coalition, “died peacefully in his sleep at Virginia Hospital Center” at the age of 74, according to fellow advocacy group New Columbia Vision. Clark was reportedly battling health problems related to a fall he suffered in January.
Throughout his long career, Clark “was active in Washington politics, gay and lesbian rights and had long led the effort to achieve statehood for the District of Columbia,” according to his niece, Aron Rider.
“Ward 1 lost an incredible leader last night,” D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau wrote on Faebook Saturday. “I will seek to honor Jerry in all that I do as Councilmember. May his memory be a blessing to us all.”
D.C. Councilmember at-large David Grosso tweeted his condolences yesterday. “Won’t be the same [at Atlas Brew Works] today without Jerry Clark there supporting [D.C. Voting Rights] and statehood,” Grosso tweeted. “RIP Jerry. You will be missed!”
Clark was “a friend,” said Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen. “And a fierce voice for what’s right and what’s needed – not just in DC, but our country. I will miss him.”
Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie echoed the sentiment by tweeting that Clark “fought the good fight, and the District is better because of your efforts,” and Councilmember at-large Elissa Silverman said that Clark’s “optimism about statehood & politics improving lives of people helped put me on my unpredictable path.”
Other locals took to Twitter to remember Clark after hearing the news of Clark’s passing:
RIP Jerry Clark 🙁
An absolutely wonderful person; soft spoken, courageous, a man of ideals. https://t.co/d4WqPdlb8O
— Chuck Thies (@ChuckThies) April 11, 2016
— Senator Paul Strauss (@SenPaulStrauss) April 10, 2016
In a town full of assholes, Jerry was a nice guy. Not to be underestimated. He will be missed. https://t.co/gYZ02SoIE3
— Tim Krepp (@timkrepp) April 10, 2016
I got to know Jerry Clark though the #draftweaver movement. Need more people like Jerry. RIP.
— Dave Stroup (@DaveStroup) April 10, 2016
Photo via “D.C. Statehood Today” on Youtube