Fulton County District 6 Commissioner Emma Darnell passed away on Sunday, May 5. She served on the county commission in 1992. She was 84 years old.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Darnell had been absent from governmental activities over the past few months while recovering from a foot surgery and contending with an undiagnosed illness, but was present at a commission meeting on Wednesday, May 1.
In her last actions as a commissioner, she voted to provide cost of living increases to retirees whose pensions didn’t increase automatically, and to continue to fund a pre-arrest diversion program, the AJC reports. She had a long history of activism and standing up for the rights of minorities, and seniors both in and out of official government positions.
While serving as a city official in the 1970’s, Darnell authored the Atlanta’s first minority business plan, according to Fulton County materials. As a Fulton County Commissioner for 27 years, she was a vocal advocate for senior citizens.
“Commissioner Darnell has been a true example of a servant leader, whose body of work establishes a legacy to be revered. She spoke truth to power and courageously fought for the least, the lost, and the forgotten without hesitation,” City Council President Felicia Moore said in a statement. “Ms. Darnell was a champion for our senior citizens and a protector of the health of all in her fight for environmental justice. She will forever be remembered for her decades of service and leadership to the people she loved in the City of Atlanta, Fulton County, and beyond.”
Her funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, May 13 at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church, 534 Fairburn Road, Atlanta City Councilwoman Andrea Boone said in Darnell’s obituary.