Black Caucus Mourns Death of Staffer Jonathan Riley

CBC congressional fellow was working in Rep. G.K. Butterfield's office

Jonathan Riley had been working on the Hill for three months. (Rep. G.K. Butterfield via Twitter)
Jonathan Riley had been working on the Hill for three months. (Rep. G.K. Butterfield via Twitter)
Posted October 4, 2016 at 9:34pm

Jonathan Riley, a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fellow working as a staffer for North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, died on Oct. 3, the foundation announced Tuesday.

Riley died of a sudden medical complication, according to a Go Fund Me page created after his death.

“Jonathan was a tremendously talented young man who made an unforgettable impression on his colleagues in the CBC and the CBCF Fellowship program,” Butterfield, the CBC chairman, said in a news release.

“He had a joyous spirit and celebration for life. He loved his family, his work and demonstrated an admirable level of compassion, kindness and patience as he approached every assignment with enthusiasm and delight as his unselfish desire was to make a difference in life and his community,” the statement continued. 

The Go Fund Me campaign has beat its goal of raising $12,000, which will “assist the family in paying Jon’s medical bills and getting some of his family members from Jamaica to DC for his funeral,” it read.

The funeral will take place in Washington between Saturday, Oct. 22, and Monday, Oct. 24.

Butterfield also tweeted his condolences.

Riley was the foundation’s science and technology congressional fellow and prior to his passing, had worked in the House since August, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He had been a member of the board of directors of Black Tech Mecca since February 2016 and an attorney in private practice in Chicago since May 2013. 

In 2006, he graduated from the University of Florida, where he was president of the university’s NAACP chapter.

In 2012, he graduated from Northwestern University Law School on the dean’s list. While there, he was a judicial extern for Sharon J. Coleman, a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

He was also active in volunteer work, his LinkedIn profile showed. In 2012, Riley was a resource and transport director for the African Legal Library Project, which gathered and shipped legal text books to law schools in East Africa.

Riley is survived by his wife, Ayisat, and 1 year old son, Benjamin.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.