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Press Releases - County Council

Statement from the Montgomery County Council on the passing of County leader Odessa Shannon

For Immediate Release: Monday, May 18, 2020

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 18, 2020—Today the Council is heartbroken to learn about the loss of our extraordinary friend and county leader Odessa Shannon. Montgomery County is a more just and fairer place because of Odessa’s public service, volunteerism and advocacy. Odessa was a trailblazer, and her determination, grace and positivity will be sorely missed.

Odessa was the first African American woman elected to the Montgomery County Board of Education. Throughout her career as a special assistant to former County Executive Gilchrist and executive director of the county’s Human Rights Commission, she fought for civil rights and equity in education, employment and housing. She founded the Human Rights Hall of Fame and was one of the original directors of the National Political Congress of Black Women.

Even during her final months, Odessa was steadfast in her commitment to giving back to her community as she continued attending advisory committee meetings for senior residents. We thank Odessa for her legacy of leadership and her courageous and generous spirit. We send our deepest condolences to Odessa’s family.


Release ID: 20-224
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931