On November 27, 2012, TENAC was proud to receive a signal honor from the Waterside Towers Residents Association (WRTA) when its distinguished President, Tyrone Ron Jackson, presented TENAC with a $1,000 contribution given in memory of Pearl Wisham Perry, a legendary resident benefactor and officer of the Waterside Association for many years and a notable figure in DC public life. The grant was also given in support of TENAC’s core mission in support of rent control, affordable housing and tenants’ rights, and as an acknowledgement of TENAC’s resounding success as the lead tenant organization in the District, representing all who live in rental housing – fully two-thirds of the city’s population.

Waterside Towers is a bellwether tenant association, and recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary under the excellent leadership of Ron Jackson. At the November 27 meeting both Mr. Jackson and Jim McGrath eulogized Pearl Perry for the extraordinary woman she was. Rightly celebrated for legendary accomplishments, including a PhD with honors from Columbia University, a stellar career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she advanced the causes of medicine and science, and in the community at large, where she was involved in local theater and opera, and where she also played an active role as a prominent member of the Democratic Party as a confidant of successive mayors and Council Members.

Pearl Perry’s affiliation with TENAC was also exceptional. She was not only a founding member of the organization, but served on the TENAC Board of Directors from its inception until her untimely death just over a year ago. There she was an ardent supporter of TENAC’s mission as well as TENAC’s signal accomplishments over the years, including the successful lobbying for creation of an independent District agency pursuing tenant protection and rights – the Office of Tenant Advocate (OTA) under the outstanding leadership of Johanna Shreve – TENAC’s origination and successful advocacy for extension of the Rent Control Law from 5 to 10 years, and our current campaign to eliminate the “plus 2” from the “CPI + 2 percent” rent-increase “rip-off” formula.

We often hear of the “Renaissance Man,” recognized for outstanding achievement, but too seldom of the “Renaissance Woman.” Dr. Pearl Wisham Perry fit that role to a T and the community at large as well as all who knew her are the richer for it.

Courtesy of the DC Tenants’ Advocacy Coalition (TENAC)

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