Close-cropped photo so a stack of white signs with black text on them
Orion Donovan-Smith

Every year, interfaith memorial services are held for people who have died while homeless in the nation’s capital and elsewhere. For the past four years, advocates have held a local vigil the night before the service to draw additional public attention to this event. Here is our local coverage of the fifth vigil:

Local activists mourn steady pace of homeless deaths in the District

More than a name: Demonstrators share their ties to Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day

Advocates honor people who died homeless and lobby D.C. Council to protect survivors

Vendor Memorial: The Mysterious Masonic Mick


Those remembered:

Chris Mason, Age unknown; Darius Duncan, Age 47; Duane “Joey” Henderson, Age 68; Galaxina Robinson, Age 35; James King, Age unknown; Lisa Jennings, Age 49; Mark Jenkins, Age 39; Micael Kelley, Age unknown; Michael Dunne, Age 58; Mweane Sikuzote, Age 69; Wilkie “Bill” Woodard, Age 66; Andrew Henderson, Age unknown; Bessie M, Age 54; Brandon “Lay Lay” Hancock, Age 32; Bruce Stout, Age unknown; Christopher Harris, Age 49; Christopher Wiliams, Age unknown; Cluster Faison, Age 70; Debra Covington, Age 50; Esther Wright, Age unknown; Gail Faulkner, Age 60; Gwennett C, Age 52; Helen Walker, Age 70; James Murphy, Age unknown; John “Mick” Matthews, Age 44; John Wallace, Age 70; Watkins, Age unknown; Joseph Yummit, Age 64; Kay Vaughn, Age 45; Kenneth McNamar, Age 54; Kevin Barnes, Age 61; Larry Washington, Age unknown; LaVerne Watkins, Age 62; Monty Briscoe, Age 56; Patricia Webster, Age 62; Ricky Douglas, Age 60; Ronny Johnson, Age unknown; Sharon Tilman, Age 60; Teri Jones, Age 43; William Morton, Age 61; Yvette Green, Age 49

These names were printed in the programs for National Homeless Person’s Memorial Day. A disclaimer noted that “to protect client confidentiality the names listed are with the expressed approval of next of kin or the client’s case manager.”Many more individuals were noted only by their ages, with some others recognized by their initials and several listed as simply “unnamed.” It is customary to read “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” as part of this list to acknowledge the likelihood that still more homeless men and women died without being counted. In total, 45 District residents were reported as dying without a home and 79 more were counted as dying soon after “exiting” homelessness by moving into housing.


Through social media, we collaborated with other street papers to show how this day was observed throughout the country.