It is with great sadness that PLEA mourns the loss of Donna Neill, a long time neighborhood activist and PLEA Partner, who passed away in the late evening hours of May 11, 2014.
Donna moved to Phoenix in 1993 and immediately took a stand against the blight, crime, and poverty which were rampant in her Central Phoenix Neighborhood. She painted out graffiti, reorganized a dying neighborhood association, and won her neighborhood “Fight Back” status from the City of Phoenix. In 1994, Donna helped form the Westwood Neighborhood Association, and later that year, after contacting local business leaders, she was an integral part of forming the Westwood Business Alliance.
In 1996, Donna would go on to form Neighborhood Activist Inter-Linked Empowerment Movement, N.A.I.L.E.M. which was instrumental in forcing elected officials to listen to the voice of the people, instead of special interest groups and high paid lobbyists. She was also an integral part of lobbying to have neighborhoods recognized as victims in so called “victimless crimes” such as prostitution and drug dealing.
Donna has been very pro-police and would routinely attend City Council and City Public Safety Subcommittee meetings to voice her support on issues important to rank and file Phoenix Police Officers.
One of the many things Donna took on as a neighborhood activist was renovating a neighborhood park, located at 4535 North 23rd Avenue. In December 2000, Kid Street Park became a reality. Through Donna’s leadership, one of the annual trademark events attached to Kid Street Park is a Christmas Party for underprivileged or low-income neighborhood kids, who otherwise would not be able to experience the joy of receiving a gift at Christmas. PLEA Charities has been able to assist in making this event a success.
Even though Donna’s health had declined and she needed a wheelchair to get around, she always made it a point to attend events, including the above mentioned meetings, as well as PLEA fundraisers and press conferences as a continued show of support for rank and file Phoenix Police Officers.
Donna will be missed and our heart goes out to her husband Jerry. Please keep the Neill family in your thoughts and prayers.