R.I.P. William Fairfax (1998-2022) – POLITICO

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Beneath the general public picture of optimism and triumph that emanated from the Biden administration this week was a profound sense of grief amongst many.

WILLIAM FAIRFAX, JR., a 24-year-old aide who labored for JOE BIDEN’s major marketing campaign in South Carolina after which went on to work at FEMA and as a press assistant for Vice President KAMALA HARRIS, died unexpectedly of pure causes, his household introduced final week.

On Thursday, a whole bunch gathered on the Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, Md., to have a good time and mourn him.

It was a solemn affair although one crammed with slightly laughter, too. Letters have been learn from Joe and JILLBIDEN, BARACK and MICHELLE OBAMA, plus the vice chairman and her husband.

Biden’s speechwriter VINAY REDDY spoke. So too, did Harris’ communications director JAMAL SIMMONS, former Harris press secretary SYMONE SANDERS, Biden’s South Carolina state director KENDALL CORLEY, and NIA PAGE, the particular assistant to the White Home director of public engagement. William’s cousin, former Virginia Lt. Gov. JUSTIN FAIRFAX, provided remarks. Dozens of present and former Biden administration aides sat in attendance.

Fairfax’s dying was a tragedy not only for how early in his life it got here. Many Biden officers, notably many Black officers within the administration, spoke of his irrepressible spark that warmed rooms and prompted smiles. “Dare to be completely different,” was the road on the prime of the funeral program.

Fairfax dubbed himself on-line as “Dope Urkel.” His mates remembered him as a horrible driver and laughed remembering how he as soon as had his automotive towed whereas driving round a Biden surrogate in South Carolina due to unpaid parking tickets. He ate a lot Chik-fil-A that his boss as soon as warned he’d flip right into a hen. His passions included the pop celebrity Adele, fantasy soccer, and Queen Elizabeth II.

Past the enjoyable quirks, nevertheless, mates and former colleagues described a real believer in his political causes — a type of idealistic younger political aides who went into service for earnest causes. He took the problems, however by no means himself, significantly, they stated. As many individuals put it: he was one of many good ones.

We requested a number of of his former colleagues for remembrances. That is what they instructed us.

VINCENT EVANS, government director of the Congressional Black Caucus, who labored with William within the VP’s workplace and on the first marketing campaign:

William had a genuinely good spirit in a metropolis and business — politics being the business — that you simply don’t typically see anymore. He got here right here wide-eyed and optimistic concerning the distinction he might make. He was a real believer within the work he was doing. That’s what I would like folks to know.

TREY BAKER, former senior advisor for public engagement on the White Home and nationwide director of African American engagement through the marketing campaign:

William was a presence in each room he was in. From my view, William lived life all accelerator, no brakes; was fearless; and was all the time keen to leap in and take a look at his finest. All qualities we must always search to emulate. Relaxation properly younger Nupe. You really made your mark. 

PAIGE HILL, the previous regional communication director on the White Home and South Carolina communications director through the major: 

He meant so much to me and was such a shiny mild to so many individuals. I felt so proud to observe him blossom and develop from South Carolina to the admin. I all the time stated if I get fortunate, at some point I’ll be working for him. 

CLARKE HUMPHREY, the previous digital director of the White Home Covid workforce:

We weren’t tremendous tremendous shut however we ran in the identical circles (there are solely so many Black folks in This City) and would all the time be comfortable to see one another at birthdays and different occasions. He was actually actually variety, considerate, and candy and shall be sorely missed for certain.

KAMAU MARSHALL, deputy assistant U.S. Commerce Consultant for media and public affairs, who labored with Fairfax through the major:

I referred to as him an natural gentleman, which I do not use flippantly. He was really a prince and genuine in his mannerisms. He was like that from the primary day I met him as an intern through the major in South Carolina. He was certainly himself always. That’s not a straightforward factor to do on this area. I’m nonetheless in a way of shock. It doesn’t really feel actual but. William completed a lot at 24, and most of the people have not accomplished half of what he did on the younger age of 24. A devoted younger public servant who shall be missed. His legacy will reside on by means of many wonderful folks. 

KENDALL CORLEY, deputy chief of workers for exterior engagement on the Small Enterprise Administration and the South Carolina state director for the Biden major marketing campaign: 

He stated he was a nerd however he was a cool nerd which is how he was a dope Erkel. I’ll miss him screaming within the workplace and telling him to close up [laughs].

The perfect was but to come back. However he gave his finest each day and we’re all grateful and have benefited from it. His ardour. His demeanor. His dedication to underserved communities. The remainder of us nonetheless right here have that legacy to reside as much as.