Happy Thanksgiving! The cold weather has snapped our attention to the changing season, but it’s still a little hard for me to believe the holidays are already upon us! I wanted to send a warm Thanksgiving greeting to everyone and hope that you’re able to spend the holiday with friends and family. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity you’ve provided me this year. This past Saturday, I joined hundreds of volunteers with Project Giveback to fill boxes with a Thanksgiving meal for several Ward 6 families in need. Two of my staff – Laura Marks and Jamaal Jordan – brought their families along as we loaded up supplies and then delivered the food in time for a Thanksgiving meal. Overall, it was a great day to spread a little cheer and help ensure others can celebrate, too.
After the turkey and dressing, what should you do later this week? Forget all the Black Friday messes. Instead, focus your energy on supporting our local small businesses on Small Business Saturday. Shop Local and Shop DC! Whether strolling down Barracks Row, H Street NE, 7th Street NW, Pennsylvania Avenue SE, or any number of neighborhood holiday markets, support your local DC businesses. DC’s Department of Small and Local Business is making a big push this year and I hope you’ll support them as well! Check out their website with information on neighborhood commercial corridors and, if you’re on social media, tag your favorite store or business on Saturday with #ShopDC.
Last week, I had the pleasure of joining Reach Incorporated to celebrate their latest book launch with local authors. Of this year's four selections, three of the books were authored by Ward 6 students. I was so proud to congratulate Daijha and Darrin from Eastern High School and Remi from KIPP. These are impressive young people, and impressive story tellers regardless of age. Thank you to Reach Inc. for empowering these young authors. Their voices have value and power. You can read more about Reach here and more about these four new books from Shout Mouse Press.
After that celebration, I stopped by the PSA 108 meeting in Hill East to talk with neighbors about continued public safety concerns. We have a new Lieutenant for PSA 108 and it was a great opportunity to see him in action. 1st District Commander Jeff Brown has made a great selection in bringing Lt. Damion Taylor to Ward 6. In addition, the 1st District Citizens Advisory Council, chaired by Bobby Pittman, helped bring many stakeholders back to the community for continued conversations, including the US Attorney's Office, Court Supervision offices, the Pre-Trial Division of the DC Superior Court, and more. It was another good step in the ongoing discussion about strategies to improve safety in our neighborhoods.
On Sunday morning, I was honored to join the men and women of DC Fire and EMS to honor Lt. Kevin McRae's service and sacrifice for DC. Lt. McRae was stationed with Engine Company 6 in Ward 6 and lost his life after responding to a fire in Shaw earlier this year. He was the 100th DC firefighter to die in the line-of-duty. Sunday would have been his birthday, and the Council had declared the day “Kevin McRae Day.” Working with FEMS Chief Gregory Dean, leadership from IAFF Local 36, my Council colleague Kenyan McDuffie, and the surviving members of Lt. McRae's family, I spoke at a very moving and solemn memorial service before we walked from the firehouse to the site of the fire, where an honor guard laid a wreath in remembrance. I was honored and proud to be a part of this service, and it was a stark reminder of the risks our city’s first responders take on our behalf every day.
Finally, please remember to join me on Monday, December 7, from 6-8 pm at Eastern Market’s North Hall for our 8th Annual Ward 6 Brickie Awards! This is a wonderful celebration of the people and places that make our community so strong. The event is FREE and will include some fantastic food and beverages from your favorite local restaurants!