Press

The Task Force Sorrowed By Loss of Prominent Community Leader Wanda Alston; Adds $10,000 to Reward for Information

Date: 
March 17, 2005

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

UPDATE:
On April 21, 2005, William Parrot, Jr. pled guilty to second-degree murder for the death of Wanda Alston. Parrot admitted to authorities he was under the influence of crack cocaine, and that the motive for killing Alston was to rob her so he could buy more of the drug. Second-degree murder carries a maximum of life in prison, but voluntary sentencing guidelines call for 12-24 years if a person has no criminal background. Parrot will be sentenced on July 29.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Sorrowed By Loss of Prominent Community Leader Wanda Alston; Adds $10,000 to Reward for Information


Wanda Alston co-trained with the Task Force at the Ohio Power Summit in April 2003, was a lead volunteer who traveled with the us to Miami for the Sept. 2002 campaign and worked closely with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force over her many years of service to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
Photo Credit: Rudy K Lawidjaja, Washington Blade Freelance Photographer

Washington D.C., March 17 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force joins the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community of the District of Columbia and the nation in mourning the tragic loss of LGBT leader Wanda Alston. Wanda was the Director of the Mayor's Office on LGBT Affairs in the District of Columbia. She was found dead yesterday at her home in what appears to be a homicide.

Wanda's work for LGBT equality spanned many years and touched communities throughout the nation. She had a talent for organizing LGBT people and was particularly dedicated to lifting the voices of LGBT people of color.

"Wanda reached many hearts during her life, both inside and outside our community, and she will be sorely missed," said Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the Task Force. "We are simply in shock about suddenly having her ripped from our community and we send our deepest sympathy to her partner Stacey Long, her entire family, and all those who knew and loved her."

The Task Force is pledging an additional $10,000 to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department's reward of up to $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for Wanda Alston's death.

Wanda's extensive organizing and leadership included working as staff at the National Organization for Women and the Human Rights Campaign, as a founding member and a board member of National Stonewall Democrats, and as an organizer of four national marches. Her latest initiative, the District's first LGBT Citizen Summit, scheduled for late April, was focused on gathering input from LGBT citizens on the priorities of the DC Government.

Wanda worked with the Task Force in many ways, most passionately through participation in Power Summits and National Actions. She eventually became a volunteer Power Summit trainer for the Task Force.

"Wanda Alston was an amazing activist, organizer, and sister in the struggle for equal rights for all people. She taught me the courage to fight for full equality, not just as a gay man, but as an out black gay man. Our community mourns the loss of a brilliant black lesbian activist."
      —Rodney McKenzie, Project Director, Organizing and Training, The Task Force

Dan Hawes, Project Director of the Task Force's Organizing and Training Department, stated, "Wanda was a dear friend and a very powerful community organizer. She brought a unique passion and commitment to building grassroots political power in the LGBT community, especially among LGBT communities of color. Our community has suffered a grievous loss, and she will be deeply missed."

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.