Former Wilmington City Councilwoman Rysheema Dixon Passes Away

Former Wilmington City Councilwoman Rysheema Dixon has passed away unexpectedly according to statements released by the city.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki today issued a statement regarding the passing of community activist, business entrepreneur and former City Council Member Rysheema Dixon:

“On behalf of the City of Wilmington government and the people of Wilmington, I extend condolences to the family and friends of Rysheema Dixon as we process the shock and sorrow of her passing. Rysheema always charted her own course. She was a concerned and informed resident who become active in various causes and eventually began to provide leadership and guidance to others. She sought elective office and won the support of voters. Her passion for the needs of the community grew even stronger during her time on City Council. Rysheema then began a very successful career locally, nationally, and internationally in consulting and motivational leadership. All of this, and she was just in the third decade of her life. Her loss will be felt by many. We thank Rysheema and her family for her service to the people of Wilmington

Officials with the city said the City of Wilmington is mourning the loss of former City Council Member Rysheema Dixon. Wilmington City Council issued the following statement on the passing of the City’s At-Large advocate.

“On remembering our friend and longtime colleague, we are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Rysheema Dixon. As a former At-Large City Council member, educator, community activist, and business entrepreneur, Rysheema had an incredible impact on our city. She was a tireless community champion who continuously went above and beyond for her city since first being elected to the Council in November 2016 and again in November 2020. As the city’s youngest and first African American woman in the At-Large seat, Rysheema’s passion for serving others, diversifying Wilmington, and improving the quality of life for all citizens will not be forgotten. Our deepest condolences go to Rysheema’s family and all those she touched throughout her remarkable life. We will never forget Rysheema’s contributions to making Wilmington the best it can be.”

The City of Wilmington’s flag located in front of the Louis L. Redding City County building is flown at half-staff in honor of Rysheema Dixon.

City Council member At-Large Rysheema Dixon resigned from Wilmington City Council in January 2022. She shared that it was a rewarding experience to serve on the 107th and 108th sessions of Wilmington City Council, and an honor and privilege to serve the residents of the City of Wilmington.

Rysheema’s work for Wilmington’s community started long before she was a politician. From 2009 to 2011, she served two terms of service in Public Allies Delaware, an AmeriCorps program of the University of Delaware Center for Community Research and Service. Her efforts were focused primarily on the Southbridge area where she worked with Wilmington HOPE Commission, Henrietta Johnson Medical Center, Neighborhood House, Elbert-Palmer Elementary School, South Wilmington Planning Network, and other nonprofit organizations to improve the quality of life in the Southbridge neighborhood of Wilmington, Delaware. While serving as an elected official, she also worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware teaching Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship for the University’s Horn Entrepreneurship program.

In 2011, Rysheema founded RD Innovative Planning, a community development consulting business. As the Chief Executive Officer and President, she worked with nonprofit organizations and provided personal coaching for entrepreneurs. RD Innovative Planning managed the Wilmington Play Streets summer program on behalf of Christiana Care Health System, which temporarily closed a neighborhood block to traffic and provides play equipment to create safe, fun, and healthy spaces for children, families, and neighbors to connect and play right outside their doors.

During her two terms as council member at-large, Rysheema served as Chair of the Community Development & Urban Planning Committee (2017-2020), Chair of the Health, Aging & Disabilities Committee (2021-2022), and Vice Chair of the Public Safety Committee (2021-2022). Rysheema sponsored multiple pieces of legislation; a couple of highlights are the launch of Wilmington’s first disparity study to review the City government’s procurement system. She also sponsored a resolution that urged the Delaware General Assembly to enact legislation that brings up-to-date sex-education standards and curricula, with a particular focus on the inclusion of sexual assault, consent, and the development of healthy relationships.

The loss of Rysheema Dixon is a void that we can never fill. But the countless people whose lives were touched by her will forever be inspired to fight for change as a result of her tremendous life, legacy, and her leadership.

A post posted on Dixon’s Facebook page yesterday celebrated the 11-year anniversary of RD Innovative Planning. “Today is our 11th Anniversary!!! We have been busy today with our clients but we couldn’t finish the day without acknowledging our Anniversary”, said Dixon.