In February, we celebrate Black History Month, a time to commemorate and honor the contributions of African Americans throughout our nation. This month has special meaning in the District of Columbia. Much of the history of Washington, DC is the history of African Americans, and the history of black America is inextricably tied to the District of Columbia.
In 1862, Congress passed the District of Columbia Emancipation Act, making Washingtonians the first freed slaves in the nation. Nine months later, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, cementing the District’s role as a vibrant center of African American culture and society as freed slaves from across the nation flocked here.
The rich legacy of African Americans in Washington, DC is ever-present. It can be seen in Frederick Douglass’ former home in Cedar Mill, the African American Civil War Memorial in Shaw, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall. It can be heard in the jazz, R&B, and gogo played across the country. The District is a living symbol of, as President Gerald Ford said, “the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Read below a number of Ward 4 events to help celebrate Black History Month. And over the course of February, I will be highlighting notable African Americans from Ward 4, the District, and the nation as a whole. From the invention of the traffic signal to the political empowerment of communities of color, I am proud of the District’s contributions to black history and culture in America. Happy Black History Month!
Brandon T. Todd
Councilmember, Ward 4
Committee of the Whole
On Tuesday, February 5th, the Council met in room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building for their regularly scheduled Legislative Meeting and additional Committee of the Whole meeting. Councilmember Todd introduced three bills at the Legislative meeting:
District Wounded Warrior Parking Permit Act of 2019
Would create a parking permit for disabled veterans and Purple Heart recipients that provides free short-term parking at all District-owned and operated lots, garages, meters, and pay stations. Eligible recipients would apply for a unique placard issued by the District Department of Transportation, with renewal required after three years. States such as Oregon, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and New Jersey have passed similar legislation. The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers Nadeau, Silverman, Grosso, Bonds and R. White, and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Cheh, Allen, Gray, T. White.
Veteran Retirement Income Tax Exclusion Amendment Act of 2019
Would exempt retirement income for members of the Uniformed Services from DC personal income tax. 22 states currently classify military retirement income as tax exempt. Uniformed services encompasses the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service. The legislation was co-introduced by Councilmembers Grosso, R. White and Cheh, and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Evans, Allen, and Bonds.
DC Office of Resilience Establishment Act of 2019
Would legislatively establish an Office of Resilience in the Government of the District of Columbia, making it the first of any U.S. city to do so. The existing DC Office of Resilience was administratively set up within the Office of the City Administrator in 2017 to build the District’s resilience through the development and implementation of a comprehensive resilience strategy. The District received technical and financial support for this effort as part of its selection to become part of the global 100 Resilient Cities Network. That financial support will lapse in August of this year. Legislatively establishing a DC Office of Resilience would allow for greater funding stability and secure long-term implementation of the resilience strategy. The D.C. Office of Resilience Establishment Act of 2019 was co-introduced by Councilmembers Nadeau, Evans, and Cheh, and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Allen and Grosso.
Tuesday, February 12th Committee on Education, Room 412 at 2pm
“Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools Dr. Lewis D Ferebee Confirmation Resolution of 2019” PR23-67.
Those who wish to testify may sign up online at http://bit.do/educationhearings or call the Committee on Education at 202-724-8061 by 5:00pm Friday, February 8, 2019
Wednesday, February 13th Government Operation Committee, Room 412, 10:00AM-END
Office of Community Affairs
Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives
Office on Veteran’s Affairs
Office on LGBTQ
Thursday, February 14th Government Operations Committee, Room 120, 1:00 PM-END
For more information regarding hearings or legislation, please contact my Legislative Director, Keiko Yoshino, at email@example.com or (202) 724-8052.
Rock Creek East I Livability Study Community Meeting:
Wednesday, Feb 6th, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, Shepherd Park Library
The study area is defined by Rock Creek and the Maryland border to the West, Eastern Avenue to the North, New Hampshire Avenue NE and the Red Line Metrorail tracks to the East, and Military Road NW, Missouri Avenue NW, and Riggs Road NE to the South.
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will host its first public event for the Rock Creek East I Livability Study tonight, Wednesday, February 6, 2019, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The purpose of this neighborhood study is to identify opportunities to enhance community quality of life through transportation safety and access improvements for all modes within the study area. At the first public event, DDOT will introduce the project, share data collection, and provide opportunities for participants to share existing concerns.
When: Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 6:30pm – 8:30pm Where: Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Neighborhood Library 7420 Georgia Ave. NW (SPK Meeting Room 2)
Washington, DC 20012
DDOT is undertaking the Rock Creek East I Livability Study to evaluate the transportation network in the study area from a system perspective, and look for opportunities for a safer and more accessible multimodal network. This study will be led with a data-driven approach, using existing and future conditions to understand transportation challenges and opportunities and to recommend specific implementable actions. The study will be supported with robust public outreach throughout the process. You can find out more about the study by visitingwww.rceast1.com.
Councilmember Todd’s Senior Dental Services Program
Now Accepting Applications – Call Today!
Councilmember Todd is pleased to announce the establishment of the Senior Dental Services Program! Due to legislation that Councilmember Todd introduced, passed, and funded, eligible District seniors can now access a full range of discounted diagnostic, preventative, and restorative dental services! Call (202) 540-9862 today to schedule an appointment! Evening, weekend, and same-day appointments are available. Eligibility is limited to District residents age 65+ with a household income below $100,000.
Shepherd Park resident Andre Kearns is leading a presentation on genealogy and DNA testing this Saturday, February 9th for Black History Month. Andre who has painstakingly traced his family roots back to Colonial Era Jamestown VA will share tools used to uncover family histories through the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. Andre is a native Washingtonian who has lived in Shepherd Park, DC since 2004 with his wife and two sons.
Please mark your calendars for the Takoma Education Campus Black History Night Celebration on Wednesday, February 13, at 5:30 p.m.This is a wonderful chance for prospective families and the larger community to see how our school thrives! Our theme this year relates to the Great Migration, which was the movement of more than six million African Americans from the agrarian South to the industrial North and Midwest cities after WWI and well into the 1960’s.
Thursday, February 28 @ 7 pm: Professor Derek Musgrove, co-author of Chocolate City, will present “African American Migration to Washington, DC During the 19th and 20th Century” at the Shepherd Park Library. Note: No books will be sold at this event. Visit the DC Public Library’s Black History Month homepage at https://www.dclibrary.org/blackhistory for more events and resources!
Week In Review
Councilmember Todd Celebrates Bus To Work Day
With District Commuters
This Monday, Councilmember Todd celebrated Bus To Work Day with commuters across Ward 4 and the District. This special day, declared by Councilmember Todd through a Council Resolution, was about making progress on a diverse set of local and regional policy priorities by increasing bus ridership over the long-term. From reduced emissions of carbon and other air pollutants, to safer and less congested roadways, to improved access to economic opportunity, bus transit is a cost-effective and flexible solution to many of the District’s challenges. February 4th also coincided with Transit Equity Day, which promotes public transit as a civil right and commemorates Rosa Parks’ birthday and bus boycott. Councilmember Todd enjoyed his quick, comfortable, and convenient bus ride downtown on the 59 Express bus, which he was happy to fund in a prior budget. The Councilmember thanks Rachel Maisler, Ward 4 resident and Chair of the Bicycle Advisory Council, for helping organize Bus To Work Day. He looks forward to remaining an advocate for transit expansion and investment.
Last Friday, Councilmember Todd held a press conference in front of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) 14th Street Bus Barn to formally announce Bus To Work Day. He was joined by WMATA Assistant General Manager for Bus Services Robert Potts, ATU Local 689 President Raymond Jackson and personnel, District Dept. of Transportation Director Jeff Marootian, and Dept. of Energy and Environment Director Tommy Wells, ANC 4C02 Maria Barry, Uptown Main Street Executive Director Jordan Haferbier, Coalition for Smarter Growth Executive Director Stuart Schwartz, and Rachel Maisler.
Mark Your Calendar
Ward 4 Constituent Mix & Mingle Happy Hour:
Thursday, Feb 28th, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, Capitol Cider House
Dept. of Public Works Extends Christmas Tree
Collections Through February 8th
From the Dept. of Public Works on February 1st, 2019:
Christmas tree and holiday greenery collections in the District have been extended through Friday, February 8. Residents are asked to leave their Christmas trees where their trash and recyclables are normally collected. Trees collected through February 8 will be composted. As a reminder, free Christmas tree collections are only available to households that are regularly serviced by the Department of Public Works (DPW). Buildings with four or more residential units are served by commercial haulers.
Collections began on January 15 and were scheduled to run through February 2. Recent snow storms have caused delays in our operations, as the equipment and personnel used for these collections are utilized when the DC Snow Team deploys.
Residents may also bring their trees and greenery, free of charge, to either of the District’s transfer stations. The Fort Totten Transfer Station is located at 4900 John F. McCormack Drive, NE, and the Benning Road Transfer Station is located at 3200 Benning Road, NE.
Thank you for your continued patience.
Weatherization Assistance Program Offers
Resources To Reduce Energy Bills & Improve Efficiency
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, provides low-income residents technical and financial assistance to help reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. WAP performs energy audits and installs audit-recommended energy efficiency measures to help families maintain energy-efficient, safe, and healthy homes. In the District, WAP is administered through selected Community Based Organizations and non-profits such as the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) that hire local contractors to install the energy efficiency measures recommended by the energy audit. Learn more about the program at doee.dc.gov/service/weatherization-assistance-program or by calling (202) 299-3316.
Ward 4’s Zenith Gallery Presents:
Love In All Mediums, February 8th & 9th
Dust off your red shoes and join us for an exhibition celebrating love in all sorts of mediums. To conclude the commemoration of Zenith Gallery’s 40th anniversary and give a nice twist to what has been a lovely year for the gallery, we are putting together a show about love, kindness, and the important things in life.