Miriam’s Kitchen Remembers Waldon Adams and Rhonda Whitaker
As a community, we are deeply grieving the tragic loss of Waldon Adams and Rhonda Whitaker, who were taken from us over the weekend following a traffic accident. Both Waldon and Rhonda were impassioned advocates for ending homelessness in the District and they will be sorely missed.
Waldon Adams was a member of the Miriam’s Kitchen family for over seven years. He was a founding member of The Way Home Campaign, an advocacy movement to end chronic homelessness in D.C. that launched in 2014. He joined the staff of Miriam’s Kitchen as an Advocacy Fellow in 2015, and throughout the years has worn many hats as a member of The Way Home Campaign Steering Committee, the Miriam’s Kitchen Speaker’s Bureau, and more.
Waldon’s personal story was an inspiration to many, having overcome several chronic health conditions and decades of homelessness to become a community leader, a well-known public speaker, and an incredible athlete who completed over 15 marathons. He spent much of his personal time connecting community members to the resources they needed to secure safe housing. In addition, Waldon worked doing homeless street outreach for Pathways to Housing D.C., held several leadership positions with the D.C. Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH), and served on the Leadership Council of the recently formed Partnership to End Homelessness.
Rhonda Whitaker was a natural leader whose energy and smile was contagious. She quickly became involved in advocacy at Miriam’s Kitchen as a part of our Speaker’s Bureau and through The Way Home Campaign. She never hesitated to lend her voice by speaking truth to power, and regularly urged our entire community to do more to end homelessness. One of Rhonda’s proudest advocacy moments was when she spoke powerfully in front of the Wilson Building at our Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors rally in 2019. We were thrilled to be honoring her with the Dignity Award at our 2021 Mission Critical Gala next week in front of her peers and the greater Miriam’s Kitchen community. In addition to her job as a crossing guard for D.C. public schools, Rhonda was studying at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) towards a degree in social work. She was also a beloved member of the Purity Pentecostal Deliverance Center Ministries, where she worked with the Kitchen ministry and supported elderly congregants to secure safe housing and employment. In her spare time, she and Waldon often conducted outreach in the community, connecting with individuals and bringing food and supplies to encampments.
Our heart goes out to the families of Rhonda and Waldon, and to the many individuals and organizations that were inspired by their kindness. With immense gratitude for all they shared and in honor of their strength, wisdom, and compassion for their community, we remain committed to fighting for housing justice in D.C. and beyond.
As details become available about how to express condolences, and how to support the Adams and Whitaker families, we will be sure to share that information with the Miriam’s Kitchen community.
With Love and Respect,
The Miriam’s Kitchen Team