This Saturday, Washington, DC will once again play host as hundreds of thousands of people come to our home city to use their voices in the March for Our Lives. Many DC residents are planning to attend the March and add their voices to the students who have seized the movement pushing for ways to end gun violence. Before we head to the national March, join hundreds of your DC neighbors at the Rally for DC Lives and hear from DC youth on the ways gun violence has affected their lives.
Councilmember Allen to hold public hearing on three gun bills and two resolutions on Thursday, March 22
Students and youth are encouraged to testify on how to reduce gun violence in our community.
Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6), Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, invites the public to sign-up to testify at a public hearing next Thursday, March 22 beginning at 11 am.
What: Public hearing on three bills and two resolutions before the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety
Where: Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
When: Thursday, March 22 at 11 am
How to sign-up to testify: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 724-7808. Those who cannot attend but wish to testify can submit written testimony to the above email address.
Last week, I was very fortunate to find myself watching the legendary Dolly Parton donate her 100 millionth book from her Imagination Library to the Library of Congress. The Imagination Library is our partner with the DC Public Library to administer the Books From Birth program, which was created as part of the first piece of legislation I introduced after taking office. The work happening today in the District to close the "word gap" by getting more than 400,000 books into the hands of children under the age of five, including enrolling 83% of eligible kids who live in lower-literacy areas of the city, will have more widespread benefits than we'll ever truly see.
Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6) made the following statement calling for DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson to step aside:
One year ago this week, more than 1,000 neighbors gathered together at the Atlas Performing Arts Center and nearby H Street Country Club to start organizing to protect District laws and values, saying "Hands Off DC." We were tired of Congress interfering with our local laws and concerned what the new President would mean for District residents. And while we've celebrated some successes, there's still a lot more work to do. For example, look at the recent proposal to eliminate the DCTAG program that provides critical college funding for DC students -- all without a say from the people who live here. So mark down DC Vote's annual lobby day on April 16 if you want to tell Congress, "Hands Off DC."
Let's jump right in, and start by talking about the serious challenges facing our public schools.
One year ago, the DC community rallied together to push back on interference in our locally passed laws and attacks on our District values. After years of dealing with Congress restricting our ability to pass and implement our own laws and facing a new presidential administration intent on rolling back important legal protections, residents finally said, "Hands Off DC," and organized together to take action.
Today, the DC Council unanimously passed the Fair Elections Act, creating a program where candidates for public office can opt into a publicly-funded model that puts greater focus on small-dollar contributions from DC residents and strengthens their voice in DC elections. The bill was co-introduced by Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6), Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety and has been a major priority of his since he was first elected to the Council.
Today, the DC Council, in its first vote, unanimously passed Councilmember Charles Allen’s bill to create a maternal mortality review committee that will work to examine why DC has one of the highest rates of death for women before, during, or in the year after child birth, and make policy recommendations based on those findings.
2018 is off to a fast start. There's a lot happening this year in Ward 6 -- from the start of RFK's redevelopment to ongoing efforts to make our infrastructure more pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly to several schools and libraries planning their modernizations. All of that is to say, thanks for reading these newsletters and staying engaged -- my team can't do our jobs without hearing from you. I'll be resuming my weekly office hours in the community on Friday, February 2, in Shaw at Compass Coffee. My office hour events are another way to let me know what's on your mind. And of course, please don't hesitate to contact my staff or me if you have questions or concerns.
Three years ago, Councilmember Charles Allen introduced the bill to create DC's Books From Birth program in partnership with DC Public Library. Today, more than 32,000 District children have participated in the program, with nearly 65% of those children and families coming from neighborhoods with lower literacy rates.
Check out this article from Literary Hub on DC's Books From Birth program as well as a short history of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, who had the great idea that all kids and parents should have access to age-appropriate books starting at birth. I appreciate that the author took the time to discuss the benefits of low-literacy parents reading to their children and how it can improve their own ability to read.