Benefit Honoring Late Councilwoman Puts Focus On Continuing Her Life’s Work

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JAMESTOWN – While Councilwoman Vickye James may not be with the community in person anymore, her spirit and impact is living on via her children who are working to continue her mission to help kids in the community.

James’ passion took the spotlight Saturday at Jackson-Taylor Park during a benefit fundraiser that underscored the late councilwoman’s energy, passion, and commitment to Jamestown.

“What my mom’s legacy means to me is pretty much ‘Strive for greatness,” said RJ James, the son of the councilwoman. “She really took pride in bringing back the Black Excellence, doing things for the black and brown community… even if you’re not black or brown, you’re still welcome to come on for the ride, to do whatever.” 

Councilwoman James faithfully served her community for over 40 years, and her work didn’t even stop when she went home for the night.

“I’ve had to give my bedroom up to people because she used to bring people home that didn’t have anywhere to live. It didn’t matter if she had the money, she would find a way to fix your problem,” said Qiana James, the daughter of the councilwoman. 

Councilwoman James passed away this year following what is believed to be a heart attack. However, her children want to make sure her efforts carry on.

“Continue making sure that things are getting done in the neighborhoods, making sure that we are working together, making sure that our kids are taken care of because in the end, the kids are our future,” commented Qiana James when asked what the community can do to honor her mother. 

Both of Councilwoman James’ children seem to be following in her footsteps in terms of working hard to help locals, especially youth. Qiana is looking to create a foundation to help local kids stay off the streets, while RJ already has an established non-profit designed to keep kids engaged in fruitful activities.

“My non-profit is ‘The Next Level 716,’” said RJ James. “Our vision for that is just to give kids the opportunity to get training, get them out the house, out from the video games, get them out the streets. We hold free trainings, we do a travel basketball league… we just want more kids to come and help our program grow.” 

Ultimately, both of Councilwoman James’ children agreed that the most crucial next step is to reunite the community and focus on getting back to work to make Jamestown a better place. 

“Once everybody comes together as one, [the community] will definitely be on the uprise again,” stated RJ James. 


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