by Micha Green, AFRO D.C. Editor
As the nation’s capital leadership continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, with 1,001 fallen Washingtonians as of Feb. 23, the District of Columbia Mayor is now facing another challenge- grief. Mercia Bowser, the oldest sibling and only sister of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser died Feb. 24, from COVID-19 complications. She would have been 65 on March 7.
The Mayor announced her sister’s death on Feb. 24 in a statement posted on social media:
“My family and I are mourning the loss of my sister, Mercia Bowser, who passed away this morning due to complications related to COVID-19. Mercia was loved immensely and will be missed greatly, as she joins the legion of angels who have gone home too soon due to the pandemic,” the Mayor said, considering the over 1,000 lives lost in her native city and the more than half-a-million Americans who have died due to the novel coronavirus.
“I ask that you continue to keep those who have been lost or impacted by the pandemic and those who are working so hard to protect us from it in your thoughts and prayers, and I respectfully request that my family and I are granted the time and space we need to mourn the loss of Mercia,” she added.
Bowser was retired, after a career and life of service to others, according to her younger sister.
“She worked tirelessly for children, the elderly, and those with behavioral disorders until her retirement and beyond. She counted many friends and fond memories of her service to Catholic Charities and the DC Office on Aging,” Mayor Bowser wrote in a tweet.
The Mayor’s eldest sister was treated for COVID-19 complications at Washington Hospital Center. She thanked the frontline workers there for their service.
“We’re grateful to the doctors [and[ nurses at Washington Hospital Center, who heroically treated her for COVID-19 related pneumonia,” Mayor Bowser wrote.
“She is survived by her parents Joan and Joseph Bowser, brothers, sister, nieces, nephews, and a host [of] friends ranging from St. John’s Elementary School, to Academy of Our Lady High School, to Fisk University, and Israel Metropolitan CME Church,” according to the Mayor.
Many people took to social media to offer their condolences to the Mayor:
One Twitter user (@VABVOX) wrote: “My condolences to you and your family. I am so sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace and may her memory be as a blessing to you and all who loved her,” she said.
“Sending our heartfelt condolences to you and your family,” said NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President and Director-Counsel Sherilyn Ifill.
The organization Women for Biden Harris also expressed their sympathy to the Mayor: “Our thoughts are with you [and] your family.”
“We thank you for your kindness [and] will share how our family will honor Mercia, my only sister [and] oldest sibling, [and] her beautiful spirit in the coming days,” Bowser said.