Tribute to Congressman A. Donald McEachin 

By Rev. Dr. Faith Harris, VAIPL Executive Director 

Congressman A. Donald McEachin was a champion for climate and environmental justice. He has been a Virginia Interfaith Power & Light friend since our relaunch in 2015. We based the criteria for the Virginia Interfaith Power & Light Environmental Justice Hall of Fame on the example he set with his commitment to justice.

Our privilege was to induct him as the first Virginia Interfaith Power & Light Environmental Justice Hall of Famer this past spring. His long legislative career, first in the Virginia state legislature and then at the Federal level, set a high standard for public service.

Over the years, we worked with his office on various climate and environmental initiatives: the Environmental Justice Legacy Pollution Cleanup Act of 2021, the Environmental Justice 4 All draft legislation, the Bipartisan Investment Infrastructure Jobs Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act are only a few of the legislative actions he championed. 

Most importantly, he was a personal friend. I met him in the early 2000s when he became one of my students at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University. He attended every class, aced all the work, and demonstrated profound respect and generosity to the other students and me.

I knew then that he was serious about his faith in humanity and the good we could accomplish with the right motives. He was a brilliant, competent, and compassionate leader. His death is a significant loss for his district, our state, Congress, and even more so for humanity. We will miss him, but we will try to emulate his commitment and continue working for justice. 

Rest in Peace, dear brother and friend.