I met AJ Cooper last summer at an ANC 4C meeting, when Joe Martin pointed him out to me across the room. "See him? That's AJ Cooper. He's going to run for council," Joe said. "Watch, he'll probably win." I looked over at Cooper and wondered who he was.
After the meeting, I introduced myself and we spoke briefly. Then as I attended more and more community meetings, I kept seeing AJ at those same meetings. He asked questions, he shared facts, he gave his opinions. It was immediately clear this man was intelligent, driven and had real, tangible passion for youth and the community. It doesn't happen often for me, but I was impressed by AJ Cooper right away. I really liked this guy.
In November 2014, when I saw the first campaign yard sign go up for his Ward 4 Council run, I knew who I was supporting in the election. And then in early December of 2014, AJ suddenly, shockingly, passed away at his home. He was only 34. DC lost a great champion and someone who surely would have been mayor one day.
In March of this year, the DC Council passed a resolution making August 17, 2015 the "AJ Cooper Day of Service." (Open up the Council's PDF and read about AJ's accomplishments; you will be impressed by him. You can also read his bio on the AJCooperDC website.) It's a great opportunity to spend this upcoming weekend doing something in service to your community and neighborhood.
August 17th was AJ's birthday, and for the past few years he spent it on Kennedy Street NW, barbecuing food and giving it away to anyone who needed it. In celebration and memory of AJ's service to the community, friends and family of AJ and ANC 4D Commissioner David Sheon are organizing a BBQ on the corner of Georgia and Kennedy for Sunday, August 16th from 2-5pm.
"We'll be celebrating his memory on Sunday, August 16th, at the corner of Georgia and Kennedy Streets in the afternoon," wrote Commissioner Sheon in an email. "Stop by and if you want, bring donations of food (chips, hot dogs, buns, water, plates, etc) or just come and have a hot dog with your neighbors."
On Monday night the 17th, Commissioner Sheon, At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman and Assistant DC Attorney General Michael Aniton will be holding a "Community Speak Out on Housing Affordability and Vacancy Development" discussion and Q&A from 7-9pm in Room 120 of the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW). More info on Commissioner Sheon's Facebook page.
Consider volunteering your time this weekend, donate or volunteer at a shelter or just be kind to a stranger. See more on the AJCooperDC.org website. And #GiveLikeAJCIII
"My only birthday wish is that you do something kind for someone today. It can be a small thing or a big thing as long as it spreads joy. Let’s make the world a better place one act of kindness at a time." - AJ Cooper, August 17, 2013