Biographical / Historical
Marie S. Nahikian was a co-founder and the first Executive Director of the Adams Morgan Organization (AMO – founded in 1972). Prior to Washington, DC having Home Rule, AMO put into practice a local, elected self-governance structure that advocated for issues of concern to neighborhood residents. AMO served as the main model for the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions that were created as part of Home Rule's implementation in Washington, DC. Marie S. Nahikian, particularly through her work with AMO, was a staunch advocate and partial architect of three landmark pieces of tenant rights and anti-displacement legislation in DC: the 1975 Rental Accommodations Act, the 1978 Residential Real Property Transfer Excise Tax, and the 1980 Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act.
Nahikian successfully ran for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for ANC-1C (in Adams Morgan) and twice ran for D.C. City Council (unsuccessfully). She was appointed by Mayor Walter Washington (1915-2003) to serve two terms as a Tenant Commissioner on the D.C. Rental Accommodations Commission. She later served under Mayor Marion Barry (1936-2014) as head of the Tenant Purchase Program that enabled largely low- and moderate-income tenants to purchase and become cooperative owners of their buildings.
After leaving Washington, DC, she went on to work for Mayors in Philadelphia and New York City. Nahikian also worked in the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development under President Barack Obama.
Marie S. Nahikian currently hosts the Usable Past podcast, where activists share their stories of past and present organizing to create better lives for as many people as possible.