Metro Weekly

Jim Graham Reacts to Gay Slur at Barry Memorial

Rally emcee tells crowd to stop behaving like "faggots" in presence of Councilmember Vincent Orange

“That horrendous statement would have offended Marion Barry because Marion Barry believed in human rights, human dignity of all individuals. … And he would not have tolerated that comment.”

Jim Graham

Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham

— Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), in an interview with WJLA reacting to the use of a gay slur at a memorial rally held on Monday in honor of former mayor and late Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), who passed away on Nov. 23. According to an initial report by the Washington City Paper‘s Will Sommer, rally emcee Al-Malik Farrkhan told disadvantaged Washingtonians to develop a political agenda and stop behaving like “faggots” and “females.” Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At-Large), who was present at the rally, received much criticism for not speaking up or disavowing the statements at that moment. Orange later issued a statement saying he disagreed with the slurs, which he called “inappropriate,” saying it was “unfortunate that they have overshadowed a positive event honoring the late Marion Barry.”

Graham was careful not to criticize Orange, but also told WJLA that someone at the rally should have objected to the comments. “I don’t know the whole context, but if I had been there, I would have objected right away,” Graham said.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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