The cause of her death hasn’t been made public. She is survived by her mother, her brother Cleon, and sisters Deirdre Orange and Tamara Orange. A public gathering will be held October 27 from 4-8 p.m. at Willie Watkins Historic West End Chapel at 1003 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. A service will be held October 28 at 11:00 a.m. at Enon Baptist Church, 3550 Enon Road in Atlanta.
A graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, Jamida Orange returned to Atlanta and worked for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and the Dekalb Probate Court before discovering her passion in 2012 while volunteering with the advocacy organization, the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.
Almost from childhood, she seemed destined to work in civil rights, said many who knew her. Her father was physically imposing at 6 feet 3 inches and 300 pounds, but he embraced nonviolence and included his family in whatever he was undertaking — labor issues, King Day celebrations or political campaigns.
As a student at Clark College, now Clark Atlanta University, Melanie Campbell met an 11-year-old Jamida as the little girl accompanied her father, who was working on Andrew Young’s mayoral campaign in 1981. Campbell later watched Jamida join Rev. Orange at Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day festivities and the annual memorial march from Selma to Montgomery, and “watched her step into her own leadership.”
Jamida later became part of Campbell’s Black Women’s Roundtable and served on the national board of the SCLC.
Working with the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Jamida helped plan events throughout the state. She focused on voter education and voter registration, said Helen Butler, her supervisor.
“Her official title was safety director, but she did much more than that,” Butler said. “She was a bridge builder, very organized, very bright, a solid kind of person who calmed everyone. She was very good at teaching young people about peaceful protest.”
Jamida assumed the responsibility for planning Atlanta’s King Day march in 2008. She also coordinated the annual march honoring Bloody Sunday, to commemorate the day civil rights demonstrators were assaulted by Alabama State Troopers in Selma as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She helped plan the King Center’s March for Humanity. And following the murder of George Floyd, Orange assisted and monitored young men and women participating in peaceful protests.
King’s daughter Bernice King considered Jamida a kindred spirit who “was obviously very committed to carrying on her father’s legacy, and she did a tremendous job in capturing his spirit of galvanizing diverse groups of people for the march,” she said.
Campbell, now the president of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, believed Jamida “had the spirit of her father.” Many who knew her said she radiated peace, never expressing anger or cruelty.
“She was reared in the movement,” said Hank Stewart, president of the Stewart Foundation, an Atlanta youth leadership nonprofit. It was no surprise to him that Jamida would lead “a life of service. She had an old soul. We just know we’ve lost a lot of wisdom with her passing.”