D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser paid her respects to Elizabeth Davis during the funeral of the Washington Teachers’ Union president Wednesday.
“We know unquestionably that she lived her life through advocacy, and with the demand that all people be treated fairly. And for that we are grateful,” Bowser said.
She said D.C. is a stronger version of the city Davis moved to as a little girl, thanks to her work.
“The outpouring of love over these last weeks is a reminder of the thousands of people that Liz touched. And the people she inspired, over 40 years, educating children,” Bowser said.
“I’ve known Liz in all my years of public service. But I’ve worked most closely with her in this last year, to make sure that learning could happen, even in the face of a pandemic. … We all know that she represented teachers, but we all know that she lived for the children. God bless you, Liz.”
D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson praised Davis’ work in public education.
“There are few ways to change the world. One of them is education,” Mendelson said.
“Liz gave her whole life trying to improve the educational outcomes for District students from her days as a student at Eastern High School, where she staged to walk out to protest the lack of African American History in the school’s curriculum, to this past year, when she fought to protect teachers in the debate over how to reopen our schools during the pandemic.”
Mendelson also praised her role as a labor leader representing more than 4,000 teachers in the WTU Local 6.
“She was a tough advocate for members. But her union work was about more than wages and working conditions. She was vocal in the need for a better educational system,” Mendelson said.
Davis died April 4 in a crash in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She was 70.