Sunday morning (Dec. 13th), Cherisse Luxa, 62, founder of Burien’s “Drinking Liberally” group and community activist, passed away from stomach cancer.

Known as one of the area’s most spirited Democrats, Cherisse was a well-respected organizer who had a hand in many local causes, including the attempted 2007 save of Burien’s Lora Lake Apartments.

Courtesy Daily Kos, where Cherisse’s friend cafecito wrote:

If you have ever attended Drinking Liberally, you almost certainly know of Cherisse’s incredible energy and her unstoppable drive to make our community a better place. From her decades as a King County Sheriff’s Deputy to her impressive track record as an activist an advocate, Cherisse made a huge difference, both for Burien and for the broader community.

Cherisse, like many of us, got religion with Howard Dean’s run.

Cherisse touched thousands of lives and was a role model for many of us. We will sorely miss her.

Here’s to a pioneering netroots activist, Cherisse Luxa. May she rest in peace. We’ll always be grateful for the work she did to make our state a better place to live.

Also, from Washblog comes this tribute from Noemie Maxwell:

I took this photo at a July 2007 Service of Lamentation held by clergy to protest the planned destruction of the Lora Lake moderate-income apartments in Burien.  Cherisse was instrumental in organizing the community to try to save this housing.  From left to right in this photo: Donald Bennett, Cherisee Luxa, Representative Tina Orwall from Washington’s 33rd Legislative District, Sarajane Siegfriedt.

Cherisse had incredible energy, intelligence and caring.  In the last in-depth email I exchanged with her, she told me she was working on her dissertation in the doctoral program on Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University. She was a retired sheriff’s deputy — as she put it, “a retired cop”, a victims’ rights advocate, and, among many other activities, worked in other countries to help identify the bodies of people who had died as victims of war crimes.  She co-founded Burien’s Drinking Liberally.

Cherisse had a keen and integrative intelligence — noticing and remembering details that few people see (she rescued me several times from errors in my stories) — but also thinking in a systems-oriented way — understanding the larger patterns, the connecting dynamics.  She was truly a pleasure to talk with as well as generous with her time and thoughts and help for others.  I feel truly sad that she has passed away.


Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

8 replies on “Founder Of Burien’s “Drinking Liberally” & Community Activist Cherisse Luxa Passes Away”

  1. Cherisse was a dear friend and a mentor, and her passing leaves a giant hole in our hearts.

    If you or anyone you know can help provide a home for two of Cherisse’s cats (who would really like to stay together), please comment here! They are sweet 4-year-old kitties who need a loving home. Thanks.

  2. Cherisse was passionate about her politics. She fought hard for North Highline to be annexed to Burien. She will be sorely missed.

  3. This is indeed a sad passing. Not just for me but for our whole community.
    I am proud and honored to call Cherisse a friend of mine. Everytime I raise my voice, put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard in the ongoing fight for the community and country we all have in our hearts, I will think of Cherisse.
    Thank you for your insight, arguments and advice. You will be greatly missed.

  4. Cherisse was a tireless and incredibly well-informed advocate for Burien and the region. We will miss her tremendously as a friend and mentor.

  5. Cherrise used to walk by my house often, and I would talk with her fairly frequently about all the happenings in Burien, and most certainly–about politics.

    As others have said, she had a knack for getting down to and understanding the granular details of issues, but also still having the ability to understand the bigger picture.

    She worked her tail off, fighting for the annexation of the North Highline area. And she made no bones about her desire to annex ALL of it, as she felt that total annexation was the best solution. She put a tremendous amount of time and energy evaluating and scrutinizing over the various annexation scenarios, and of course–letting the Burien City Council know how she felt about their course of action (or inaction).

    Heck, she even lobbied down in Olympia on issues regarding annexation. All on her own time, and all because she thought it was the right thing to do.

    She will be missed by all that knew her, as well all her neighbors and friends in the Seahurst neighborhood.

    Deus exsisto vobis…

  6. Enough good things cannot be said. Cherisse worked hard and always took time to be a friend. She will be missed.

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