Last weekend, the District of Columbia played host to more than 800,000 visitors for the March for Our Lives. Jordi, Cora, Everett, and I joined the Rally for DC Lives at Folger Park first, and then marched with neighbors down to Pennsylvania Avenue for the national event. It was both devastating and uplifting to hear from so many young people affected by gun violence and their calls to action.
Rally for DC Lives: Before the national March for Our Lives, I was honored to help organize the Rally for DC Lives at Folger Park to hear from DC students about their experiences with gun violence. Speaking before a crowd of hundreds of their neighbors, seven young people shared their personal stories of gun violence, spoke of the fear they live with, and remembered friends and family who were lost. It was a powerful reminder that for too long young DC residents, particularly young people of color, have lived with the effects of gun violence without a platform to speak out about it. I shared some photos from the day on Facebook and both the Washington City Paper and the Hill Rag provided great recaps. I expect this to be just the first of many times we hear and learn from these students as we work to make our community safer.
On the Thursday before the March for Our Lives, I held a public hearing on five different bills related to firearms. A special thanks to the many students and educators who came down to the Wilson Building to testify at the hearing and advocate for an end to gun violence.
Save Emancipation Day (Monday, April 16) to participate in Statehood Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. And if you'd like to brush up on your advocacy skills, there's a statehood advocacy training happening on Thursday, April 12!
We are in the middle of crafting next year's budget: The Mayor has submitted her proposed budget to the Council -- $14.5 billion in spending spread across schools, public safety, transit, road repair, and a whole lot more. Now the Council will hold budget hearings with every city agency to determine the final budget for each agency and the city as a whole. Here is the Council calendar with all upcoming budget oversight hearings -- you are welcome to testify in-person or in writing if you want to urge the Council to fund a specific program or just be sure we're prioritizing funding to areas that you think need it most.
My annual Ward 6 Budget Town Hall is scheduled for Monday, April 23, at Watkins Elementary: Each year, I host a Ward 6 Town Hall to review the Mayor's proposed budget, highlight some of my own budget priorities for Ward 6 and the District, and then turn the microphone over to Ward 6 residents to hear your feedback, thoughts, and recommendations. Hearing from so many neighbors helps me and my staff to know what you want prioritized as the Council finalizes the budget. Please RSVP for the event here.
Year of the Anacostia (#YOTA2018) Updates: With spring finally here, we can get excited about spending more time outdoors, especially on and near the Anacostia River. WAMU has done a wonderful series looking at what a healthier Anacostia River means for our community. I highly recommend checking out their reporting.
DC Water officially opens the Anacostia River Tunnel: One of the major milestones happening around the Anacostia River is the grand opening of the Anacostia River Tunnel, part of DC Water's Clean Rivers Project. It is a major infrastructure project that will expand and modernize our sewer system (originally constructed in the 80s...the 1880s). The new tunnel will play a key role in diverting more than 80 percent of our combined sewer water from making it into the Anacostia River. When the entire Clean Rivers Project is completed, more than 98 percent of water will be diverted from the river to our wastewater treatment plant. And that's amazing for our Anacostia River. I posted part of my remarks at the ceremony - I wanted to reflect on what the river means to me. And I'd like to ask you the same question -- what does the Anacostia River mean to you and your family?
If you're a regular twitter user, I've put together a Year of the Anacostia list of people and organizations who are using #YOTA2018 to get more people on or around the water and thinking about the river's health. This list should be a great resource for ways to get involved.
Public hearing on bill to manage use of DC's waterways: Last October, I introduced the District Waterways Management Act of 2017, a bill that would help establish an office to regulate and manage DC's waterways as we anticipate more and more people getting out on the water. It is very important to be sure we're thinking through public safety as well protecting access to the water for everyone. A hearing on the bill has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 16, at 11 am -- more information here if you'd like to testify.
K Street Farm will close next year (hopefully only temporarily): The K Street Farm, located in between NoMa and Mt. Vernon Triangle, has been a special and beloved community garden space in the middle of Ward 6 for many years. I've worked hard to help support and keep the farm operating as long as possible before construction starts on a Pepco substation on the property. I am working to see if there is a future for the farm once Pepco finishes construction; it's a smart way to use the space. Check out this Washington City Paper profile of the farm and its role in supplying fresh produce -- and the requisite appreciation for how it's grown -- with everyone from nearby seniors and school children to celebrity chefs.
Look for publicly-financed campaigns as soon as 2020! In a change from her previous stance, the Mayor signed into law the Fair Elections Act and provided funding for it in her budget proposal, ensuring as soon as 2020 District residents can expect to see candidates for office participating in a public-financing option. I will work to ensure the program has what it needs to get off the ground successfully, but this was a great moment for District elections and for the health of our democracy! The Washington Post has the recap.
ProPublica covers DC's Maternal Mortality Review Committee: I wrote in my last newsletter about the Council unanimously passing my legislation to create a Maternal Mortality Review Committee. I spoke with ProPublica about the bill and wanted to share their article, which I think does a great job explaining the issue nationwide.
DC Water's Ward 6 Town Hall is April 17: I've heard from many neighbors who are concerned over rising fees on their monthly water bill. Circle April 17 if you'd like to hear directly from DC Water about their fee structure, as well as the major infrastructure projects that are ongoing (like the Anacostia River Tunnel I wrote about above). New this year, DC Water will have customer service representatives, legal representatives, and subject matter experts on-hand to answer specific customer questions. The event will be at Payne Elementary School (1445 C St., SE) on Tuesday, April 17, from 6:30-8:30 pm.
Thanks as always and I hope to see you in the neighborhood soon,
DC Council Budget Oversight Hearings: March 26 - April 26
Neighborhood Clean-Up at 15th St & Massachusetts Avenue, SE - Saturday, April 7, 10am
Earth, Arts, and Music Day at Southwest Community Gardens - Saturday, April 7, 11am-4pm
Ward 6 Special Education Family Workshop - Monday, April 9, 6:30-8:30pm, Northeast Library
DC Statehood Advocacy Training - Thursday, April 12 6:30-8:30 pm, Northeast Library
Shaw Office Hours - Friday, April 13, 8-9:30 am, Compass Coffee
DC Vote Lobby Day on Capitol Hill (Emancipation Day) - Monday, April 16 (time TBD)
DC Water's Ward 6 Town Hall, Tuesday, April 17, 6:30-8:30pm, Payne Elementary
Ward 6 Budget Town Hall - Monday, April 23, 6:30-8:30 pm, Watkins Elementary
Free Tax Help at SW Library - Every Monday and Wednesday at 2 pm through April 18
Eastern Market Main Streets Market Week - April 29 - May 6, 2018