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27 Feb 2011

In tribute: Reverend Marguerite Handy

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February 27, 2011 Category: Local Posted by:

I, along with countless other Philadelphians whose lives she touched with her grace and compassion, am mourning the passing of Reverend Marguerite Handy.


I had the good fortune of meeting Rev. Handy many years ago during my first judicial campaign. She was an inspiration to me then and throughout my career, right up until her untimely death. I will miss her deeply, both professionally and personally.


Rev. Handy and I shared a devotion to helping and protecting at-risk and vulnerable families. She had particular empathy for the plight of those who ran afoul of the law, which led to her forming the Philadelphia Peaceful Surrender program, an ongoing initiative that allows fugitives with outstanding warrants in Philadelphia to turn themselves in at various churches and faith institutions strategically located throughout the city.


Those who willingly surrender are escorted by Philadelphia Peaceful Surrender volunteers to the Criminal Justice Center. The initiative allows these citizens to be treated with dignity and respect throughout the entire surrender process. The Philadelphia Peaceful Surrender program is a lasting legacy to the compassionate, caring nature of Rev. Handy but it is hardly her only legacy.


As the executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Faith-Based Services under both Mayor Street and Mayor Nutter, Rev. Handy ensured that city government never lost sight of its crucial role in improving the lives of every citizen of Philadelphia. Rev. Handy also was a leader in the fight against AIDS in the city and coordinated with local clergy to foster cooperation among multi-denominational congregations in implementing HIV testing and prevention education across the city.


Philadelphias at-risk families lost a true champion with Rev. Handy’s passing. May the valuable lessons she imparted and her abiding belief in the fellowship of man live on in each of us whose lives she touched.


The Honorable

Kevin M. Dougherty

Administrative Judge

Court of Common Pleas – Family Court Division

City of Philadelphia

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