March 18, 2005

Volume 33,
Issue 11

Mon, Feb 08, 2016


Member of D.C. Mayor’s cabinet found murdered
Member of D.C. Mayor’s cabinet found murdered - Neighbor arrested and charged with stabbing of Wanda R. Alston
by Matt Nagle - SGN Managing Editor

Wanda R. Alston, an appointee of Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams to head the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs for the District of Columbia, was stabbed multiple times Wednesday night in her Northeast Washington home. On Thursday, Washington police charged her neighbor, 38-year-old William A. Parrot, Jr., with the murder. He is scheduled to appear in court today.

“There was quite a lot of blood on the scene,” said Washington Police Chief Charles Ramsey. She was discovered by her partner, Stacey Long, face down near the front door of their home. No weapon was found and there was no sign of forced entry, police said, but Alston’s car was missing, suggesting robbery. Police refused to say what piece of evidence led them to arrest her neighbor, Parrot.

City officials, GLBT activist groups and friends across the nation were stunned by the news of Alston’s murder. At a press conference that day, a visibly shaken Mayor Williams said he was “in shock.” D.C. School Board member Miriam Saez sobbed into a handkerchief as board president Peggy Cafritz comforted her. The slaying was “mind blowing,” said Peter D. Rosenstein, advisor to the Mayor Williams on GLBT issues.

“...the activist, the fighter,

the strong Black woman...”

“Wanda was the activist, the fighter, the strong Black woman, the vocal Lesbian, and so many other things. And yet she was still Wanda, my friend,” said National Black Justice Coalition President Keith Boykin in a tribute to Wanda’s life posted on his web site. “Wanda was one of the toughest, most determined people I have ever met in my life.”

National GLBT groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the National Black Justice Coalition issued press statements grieving Alston’s death. HRC’s new president Joe Solmonese made the following statement: “Wanda was an incredible woman and the profound meaning of her loss cannot be overstated. Working with the Human Rights Campaign on many levels - both as a staff member years ago and as a leader in the mayor’s office - the staff and boards extend our heartfelt sympathies to Wanda’s partner, Stacey Long, and her family and friends.

“Wanda’s reach went far beyond Washington. She left her mark on the nation. Wanda exemplified the spirit of activism that awakens the masses and ultimately wins equality. While she has been tragically taken from the community, her spirit will never die. Thank you, Wanda, for everything you did.”

A founding member of the Stonewall Democrats, the organizations’s executive director, Eric Stern, release this statement: “Stonewall is saddened by the loss of our friend, and one of our community’s finest leaders. Wanda Alston helped foster the creation of our national organization in 1998, and continued to increase the visibility of LGBT Americans, especially LGBT Americans of color, among the residents of the District of Columbia and among Democrats throughout the country. The Stonewall family will miss Wanda’s passion, energy and dedication towards creating a better nation for all LGBT Americans.”

Alston was named a cabinet member to the Williams Administration in September when the mayor created the Office of LGBT Affairs. Alston was instrumental in working with a group of community activists to push for the creation of the cabinet-level position. Prior to September, Alston served as the Mayor’s Liaison to the LGBT community of the District of Columbia, and had worked for the National Organization of Women where she also represented the LGBT community at the International Conference of Women in Beijing.

Last year, Alston was elected by the District of Columbia Democratic State Committee to serve as a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. There, Alston lobbied other delegates on behalf of issues important to residents of the District of Columbia and LGBT Democrats.

The Board and staff of the National Black Justice Coalition, the nation’s only Black Gay civil rights organization, continues to mourn the loss of Alston.

“Wanda was a true friend and advocate for all of us,” said H. Alexander Robinson, National Black Justice Coalition’s Strategic Director. “She will be sorely missed. On behalf of all of us at the NBJC, I extend my deepest sympathy to her partner Stacey Long.”

Rex Wockner