Civic News

Remembering Rysheema

The entrepreneur, activist and politician was a key connector among various Delaware communities, including Technical.ly's. On the day of her homegoing service, reporter Holly Quinn remembers Rysheema's lasting influence — with some help from Rysheema's close friend.

Rysheema Dixon left an outsized footprint on Wilmington.

(Courtesy photo)

Just after noon on Sept. 18, Purpose PR Agency’s Porsha Green posted a statement on Facebook confirming a rumor that had been swirling all morning: Rysheema Dixon — one of Delaware’s most impactful activists and entrepreneurs, as well as a former at-large member of the Wilmington City Council — had passed away unexpectedly.

Rysheema was not just Porsha’s client. They had been inseparable friends, and more like sisters, ever since they met in 2014 while working for Henrietta Johnson.

“I was doing marketing, PR and outreach, and she was an advocate, but we were always literally tied to the hip,” Porsha said. “Like Bert and Ernie, Batman and Robin, we worked well together. ”

It was Rysheema who encouraged Porsha to start Purpose PR and even became her very first client, with Porsha conducting PR for Rysheema’s City Council campaign.

“She was the person who put those wings on my back to fly,” she said. “I was the one that gave her media training. She was my [photographer] daughter’s first client.”

The shockwaves spread quickly on social media and went all the way to Washington DC, where the three members U.S. Congress members — Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper — all put out statements about her impact on the state.

Rysheema was also part of the Technical.ly Delaware community. Her first profile in the publication ran in 2014, not long after the Delaware market launched. It was about RD Innovative Planning, her business that celebrated 11 years just a day before her passing.

RD Innovative Planning has grown to the point that, in December 2021, Rysheema resigned from her City Council position to focus more on the business and the services it provided — not just in Delaware, but in Liberia and beyond, too.

When COVID hit and children had to switch to online school, Rysheema was out there with NERDiT Now, giving kids without laptops free devices. She was executive director of Delaware Pathways to Apprenticeship (DE P2A), which works to end intergenerational poverty in Delaware by providing low-income individuals access to opportunities for career-building apprenticeships in the building trades.

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For her community work, of which there is more than we can mention, Rysheema was named as a Technical.ly RealLIST Connector, honoring impactful community leaders.

For Porsha, continuing to build what she and Rysheema started is a key focus.

“We didn’t build this map of success for me to just crumble,” she said. “If I were to stop, I’m not upholding what we fought for.”

See details on Rysheema's homegoing service
People: Rysheema Dixon
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