Local AIDS Activist Dies

Mayor Nutter makes a statement about the passing of Rev. Marguerite Handy, the head of Faith-Based Initiatives in Philly

Rev. Handy appeared with other local religious leaders on a billboard in Philadelphia encouraging HIV testing

Mayor Michael A. Nutter issued the following statement on the sudden passing of Reverend Dr. Marguerite E. Handy, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. Rev. Handy had long been a familiar face in the religious community, as well as a tireless activist in the fight against AIDS in Philadelphia:

Reverend Marguerite Handy was a woman of faith, a strong advocate for the vulnerable, a true friend to everyone she knew, and a beautiful person. Reverend Handy brought warmth and eternal optimism to the Mayor’s Office and the Greater Philadelphia clergy community. She cared deeply about government’s role in improving the lives of people all across the city, and she was dedicated to ensuring all communities of faith had access to city government. Reverend Handy was a friend and advisor to me and individuals in my administration, and we’re all very saddened at her passing.

Reverend Handy began her public service with city government in 2004. After years in the healthcare industry with Keystone Mercy Health Plan, Reverend Handy felt the calling for religious pastoral care and eventually public service. A minister of Mount Pisgah AME Church, she was recognized by the Greater Philadelphia community as being a dedicated community servant.

She was a leader during the Peaceful Surrender initiative, which encouraged individuals with outstanding warrants to take responsibility for their actions and turn themselves into their religious leaders. She also coordinated with Philadelphia clergy to persuade cooperation and implement HIV testing and prevention education by congregations throughout the city. Reverend Handy provided vision, innovation and pastoral care while tackling some of the most difficult issues a city faces.

Reverend Handy deeply loved working in the AME church and especially with her home congregation. She also was committed to her family – especially her children Pamela, Christopher, Kenneth and Douglas. We’re all very saddened by her passing, but we know her legacy will continue to affect the lives of the communities she selflessly and tirelessly served.