Metro-DC DSA notes with sadness the passing of longtime local member Alice M. Leonard on February 24 at the age of 101.
Leonard, a native of Rahway, N.J. who lived in Alexandria for nearly three-quarters of a century, was a charter member of DSA from its founding in 1982. She was one of Northern Virginia’s most active and committed members, both when it was initially a separate local as well as after it merged into what became Metro-DC DSA later in the 1980s.
Leonard’s involvement in DSA was only a part of a lifelong commitment to progressive activism. Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg recognized her 100th birthday by issuing a proclamation in which she called Leonard “an agent of change” and a champion of “integration, civil rights and social justice.” Leonard, the proclamation noted, was a pioneer in the fight against segregation in Virginia, becoming the “first white woman to teach in the segregated schools of Alexandria.” That was only the beginning of a long record of activism through DSA, Common Cause, the Alexandria Democratic City Committee and other organizations and causes.
While DSA mourns Alice’s passing, we all can celebrate her life and how she left her community a better and more just place than she first found it.