Jim Graham (b. August 26, 1945[1]) is a U.S. politician from Washington, D.C. He is currently a Democratic member of the Council of the District of Columbia, where has served as an elected council member for Ward 1 since 1999. Jim Graham is an openly gay, naturalized immigrant from Scotland,[2] currently living in Adams Morgan.[3]

Early life Edit

A graduate of Michigan State University, Jim Graham received a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School and an L.L.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. His professional endeavors included a clerkship with former Chief Justice Earl Warren, staff attorney position with the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee (chaired by Senator Abe Ribicoff (D-Conn.), and experience in private, agency and public interest law. Graham has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and George Washington University, and supervising instructor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Graham is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and before the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to taking a seat on the city council, Graham was executive director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, a non-profit organization that provides services to AIDS and HIV patients in Washington.

Gay community pioneer Edit

An attorney, Jim Graham has led in two of Washington, DC’s gay community struggles: the response to HIV/AIDS and the advance of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer community members in local and national politics.

For two decades, beginning in 1979, Graham shaped the development and direction of Whitman-Walker Clinic and its evolving response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Elected to the D.C. City Council in 1998, he has shown that members of the LGBTQ community can represent not only their own interests but those of all city residents.

Within four years of arriving in the city, Graham came to terms with his substance dependencies. His decision to leave a career in the federal government enabled him to be publicly “out” and in a community leadership position.

In October 1979, Graham joined Whitman-Walker Clinic’s board. He helped the Clinic survive its initial funding crises and in April 1981 became President of the Board. Within three years, he became the Executive Director, in which position he led the clinic’s response to AIDS for fifteen years. Under his leadership the clinic became the nation’s leading HIV/AIDS institution, with more than 1200 volunteers, 270 full-time employees, and satellite operations in Southeast Washington, Maryland and Virginia. When Graham left WWC in January 1999, it had become one of the most comprehensive community based medical organizations responding to AIDS/HIV in the US.

For Graham, the epidemic became real in the mid-1980s. Graham recalls, "It was the most difficult period that I’ve ever been through, there’s no question." In 1984, dismayed by the quality of legal support, Graham himself undertook the legal aid counseling of those with AIDS for 18 months: "I went to dying people to straighten out their legal affairs ... in addition to other duties. It carried me right into the trenches; it created the whole experience. I vividly remember going to the bedsides, the horrible circumstances. ... It was extremely emotional." In an oral history for the Rainbow History Project, Graham commented, "We’ve had one of the greatest epidemics of all time and this was the history, the history of the community banding together and helping itself. It was a phenomenal story."

Current council committees Edit

Jim Graham is a member of multiple committees in the D.C. Council:

  • Committee on Public Works (chairman)
  • Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs
  • Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs
  • Committee on Finance and Revenue

In addition, he is one of two voting members representing the District of Columbia on the Board of Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro). He has held this seat since 1999.

Criticism Edit

In early 2005, Graham was accused (allegedly by Washington businessman Sinclair Skinner) of driving historically African-American businesses from the neighborhoods of Columbia Heights, Shaw, and the U Street corridor. The Washington City Paper reported on the accusation:

In early 2005, just as the Club U issue was heating up, posters portraying Graham as a reptile holding a pitchfork labeled "Grahamzilla" appeared on light poles and street signs around the ward. Another set of posters depicted Graham standing on a porch partying with young white men at the Graham "plantation." The latter included an illustration showing "Graham opponents" hanging from a gallows. The posters stretched the limits of political speech and disappeared quickly after they were put up.[4]

References Edit

  1. Voters Guide 2006 Supplement (PDF). The Washington Informer (2006-09-24).
  3. Layton, Lyndsey. "Graham Blankets Ward 1, The District's Most Diverse". The Washington Post. 2006-08-19. Page B01.
  4. Jones, James. "The Graham Crusade". Washington City Paper. 2005-12-02.

External links Edit

Wikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Jim Graham. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

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