There is so much to report on. We finalized the DC budget this week, and I have all the highlights for you! The Juneteenth holiday is shifting city services: DPW collection will slide a day later next week but outdoor pools and spray parks will be open all holiday weekend. And next week, WMATA is launching its major fare discount program, which will reduce fares by 50% for any resident enrolled in SNAP. We also have the Home Rule Music Festival taking place tomorrow at The Parks at Walter Reed, and you won’t want to miss that. In addition, we have some great Juneteenth and Fathers’ Day events lined up this weekend, and our CARE Day in Petworth and a summer safety strategic planning meeting are later this month, too. And in between everything, I toured eight DC recreation centers this week to assess how we can better maintain our facilities. Stay tuned for a deeper dive on these visits next week after I complete similar readiness tours at more than a dozen DC schools.
DC Budget Highlights
On Tuesday, we cast the final vote on the Budget Support Act and gave final approval to the DC budget. That’s right — the DC budget for next fiscal year is done!
I am proud of the work we did as a community to secure the funds needed to bring a new public library to Kennedy Street! Our work is not done: we will need to stay mobilized and ensure each agency follows the law and does their part to make this vision a reality, but the major pieces are now in place. I’m also proud that we included language in the budget ensuring that Juanita E. Thornton Shepherd Park Library stays open for our community at its current location — and I look forward to working with our community and DCPL to make improvements to it. But those are only two of the many big Ward 4 investments in this budget.
At the start of this process, we were told this would be a budget of “tough choices,” meaning economic uncertainty in the District necessitates budget cuts to program that many families depend on. But we know that the toughest choices are those faced by DC residents who don’t know if they will make rent that month; or who send their kids to schools that will lose precious staff due to budget cuts; or who don’t feel safe in their own neighborhood or while crossing the street. So we made a decision to put those DC residents first in this budget by reversing harmful cuts to emergency rental assistance, legal aid, schools, violence prevention, victims services, support for domestic violence survivors, and other critical programs.
Here are some of the key investments we were able to secure together in the final DC budget:
Thank you to all my Council colleagues and their staff for their collaboration and hard work. This DC budget is the outcome of all Councilmembers working together to meet unmet needs in our city. And most importantly, thank you to every single person who advocated for our communities during this budget process. If you testified at a hearing, reached out to me, or spoke up in any way — you helped make this DC budget stronger. Thank you.
Home Rule Music Festival at The Parks at Walter Reed!
On Saturday, June 17 from 1pm-9pm Home Rule Music Festival returns to The Parks at Walter Reed to celebrate DC’s rich and vibrant music and culture! It is a FREE family-friendly event with an outdoor record fair, food trucks, craft brews, local vendors, and live music from living legends and rising stars. Headliners include the iconic EU, Brian Jackson, Doug Carn and the Home Rule Band, Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, The Experience Band & Show, and Mark G. Meadows & The Movement. Please enter the festival at 1000 Butternut St NW (parking is limited). RSVP and learn more on the Home Rule Eventbrite page.
Flowers for District Dads on Upshur Street
On Saturday, June 17 at 9am-3pm the Office on African American Affairs and Flowers by Alexes (851 Upshur St NW) will host Flowers for District Dads, an event where community members and their dads can come pick up flower arrangements for Father’s Day, take photos with the arrangement, and enjoy local vendors and music on Upshur Street.
Manor Park Community Cleanup
On Saturday, June 17 starting at 9am 4B05 Commissioner Kevin Gilligan will host a community cleanup starting from 8th & Peabody NW and focusing on nearby streets. Bags, gloves, grabbers, and snacks will be provided. Come take part in this family-friendly cleanup!
Community Shred Day at AKA Xi Omega
On Saturday, June 17 from 9am-12pm the Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will host a free community shredding event for neighbors to shred their important documents at the Xi Omega Center (4411 14th St NW). No limit on the amount of paper you can bring!
Discover Summer Kickoff at Shepherd Park Library
On Saturday, June 17 from 10am-4pm Shepherd Park Juanita E. Thornton Library will host a family-friendly Discover Summer Kickoff Celebration with a Lego free play session (10am-2pm), arts and crafts (10am-4pm), a The Floor Is Lava obstacle course (1:30pm-2:30pm), and other activities. Come celebrate the 2023 kickoff of Discover Summer programs and events!
Discover Summer Kickoff at Lamond Riggs Library
On Saturday, June 17 from 10:30am-12:30pm Lamond-Riggs/Lillian J. Huff Library will host a family-friendly Discover Summer Kickoff Celebration with patio chalk, games, Music and Movement (10:30am-11am for kids 0-5), a window decorating sun craft (11:30am), and other activities. In addition, teens who register at this event will receive a choice of Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley or Promise Boys by Nick Brooks while supplies last.
Juneteenth Freedom Day Bazaar at Zion
On Saturday, June 17 from 11am-3pm Zion Baptist Church (4850 Blagden Ave NW) and its Charles B. Walker Culture Club will host its 2023 Juneteenth Freedom Day Bazaar and Celebration with fresh produce, clothing, jewelry, handbags, gourmet olive oils, butters, soaps, art, glassware, cosmetics, music, and more. Come celebrate Juneteenth and our community!
Father’s Day Brunch of Love at Emery Heights
On Saturday, June 17 from 12:30pm-5pm Friends of Emery and Cure the Streets Uptown will host a free Fathers and Sons Sneaker Brunch at Emery Heights Community Center to celebrate the fathers in our community with live entertainment, speakers, creative painting, and a buffet. Please RSVP to attend!
A Spiritual Journey Juneteenth Celebration at Peoples UCC
On Saturday, June 17 at 5pm Peoples Congregational UCC (4704 13th St NW) will host A Spiritual Journey, a Juneteenth celebration featuring songs and spirituals from Pre-Slavery to Emancipation by a multi-generational cast of singers, narrators, dancers, and musicians. The event is free to everyone in the community and is also available to watch virtually at this link.
Community Prayer Walk in Takoma
On Tuesday, June 20 at 1:15pm Ward 4 Faith Leaders will lead a second community prayer walk in Takoma to bring neighbors together, show community solidarity, and pray to protect our young people from violence. Neighbors are invited to gather at 1:15pm at 5th & Underwood Streets NW and join the prayer walk to Coolidge, Ida B Wells, and Takoma Rec Center.
Parenthood… Behind the Scenes at Emery Heights
On Tuesday, June 20 from 6pm-8pm DPR will host “a transparent discussion on the overall journey of parenthood, including topics such as co-parenting, blended families, and balancing family-time and kids-free time” at Emery Heights Community Center (5701 Georgia Ave NW).
DPR International Yoga Day Sessions in Ward 4
On Wednesday, June 21 DPR will host three yoga sessions in Ward 4 to promote wellness and celebrate International Yoga Day. Join them at 8am-9am at Shepherd Park Community Center (7800 14th St NW), 10am-11am at Fort Stevens Senior Center (1327 Van Buren St, NW) for seniors and those with mobility challenges, and 12pm-1pm at Petworth Meditation Garden (Kansas & Quincy NW) for children. The website includes rain sites for each event.
Ward 4 CARE Day in Petworth
On Thursday, June 22 from 4pm-7pm I will be hosting our Ward 4 CARE Day for Petworth, starting from Petworth Rec Center (801 Taylor St NW). Come find us for a resource fair with DC agencies, door-to-door outreach to neighbors, constituent services support, and a day of bringing our community closer together. This event was supposed to take place on June 8, but it was rescheduled due to the poor air quality alert. Please RSVP to take part.
Summer in the Parks at Carter Barron Mini Oasis
On Thursday, June 22 from 6pm-8pm the Rock Creek Conservancy and NPS will host a Summer in the Parks event with free fun for people of all ages near Carter Barron Amphitheater. Bring a picnic and enjoy games, activities, music from DJ Lance Reynolds!
School’s Out Movie Night and Foam Party on Kennedy Street!
On Friday, June 23 from 5pm-10pm Uptown Main Street and our amazing Kennedy Street Businesses are teaming up to host a Movie Night and Foam Party at 716 Kennedy Street to celebrate the end of the school year! Come enjoy the DC Public Library on the Go-Go mobile unit (5pm-8pm), a foam party (6pm-8pm), and a screening of The Super Mario Bros (at 8pm).
Chicken and Waffle Gun Violence Prevention Kickball Game
On Saturday, June 24 from 11am-2:30pm DPR Roving Leaders host the first annual kickball game and community gathering to stop the violence at Raymond Rec Center (3725 10th Street Northwest). This event is dedicated to the late great Linda Harllee Harper, our Ward 4 neighbor.
Closing Reception at Zenith Gallery: Dimensional Dialogue
Petworth Jazz Project on the Lawn
On Saturday, June 24 from 5pm-8pm Petworth Jazz Project returns with a performance by Integriti Reeves on the lawn of Petworth Rec Center (801 Taylor St NW). Come get your dose of summer, music, and community with neighbors — and mark your calendar for the next Petworth Jazz Project event on July 22 at the same time and place.
Land Conservation Day at Hellbender
On Sunday, June 25 from 1pm-7pm Casey Trees will host a free Land Conservation Day event at Hellbender Brewing Company. Celebrate with tree tours, tree trivia, live music, games, a BBQ food truck, and a Casey Trees seasonal beer. Check out the lineup for this great event.
Ward 4 Summer Safety Strategic Planning Meeting
On Thursday, June 29 from 6:30pm-8:30pm, I will host a Ward 4 Summer Safety Strategic Meeting with DC public safety agencies at Barnard Elementary (430 Decatur St NW). The meeting will focus on planning specific actions to address crime and gun violence during the summer and discuss opportunities for neighbors to engage. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.
Visit your local Ward 4 Farmers Markets
Ward 4 has several great Farmers Market options every weekend. Check them out:
- Uptown Farmers Market at 5501 Colorado Ave NW on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Chevy Chase Farmers Market at Lafayette ES on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Petworth Community Market at 9th & Upshur NW on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Takoma Park Farmers Market at 6931 Laurel Ave on Sundays from 10am-2pm
Modified City Services for Juneteenth
Due to the Juneteenth Holiday on Monday, we will have some modified DC government services: Trash and recycling collection will slide one day later throughout next week. Meanwhile, DCPS schools, indoor DPR centers, indoor DPR pools, and DC public libraries will all be closed on Monday, June 19. However, outdoor DPR pools and spray parks will be open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to help keep us cool! Here is the full breakdown.
Enroll in WMATA’s Reduced Fare Program on Tuesday!
Starting on Tuesday, June 20 residents who are currently enrolled in SNAP (food stamps) will be able to sign up for WMATA’s reduced fare program, which will reduce fares by 50% of all of your MetroBus and MetroRail trips. All you need to enroll is a SmartTrip card for you and each person in your household, an active SNAP EBT card, a government-issued ID card or passport, and your phone number. Registration will be available both online starting on June 20 and in-person at three enrollment centers starting on June 26. Mark your calendar to sign up if you qualify for the program, and spread the word to your neighbors so they do the same!
Improved Metro Red Line Service
Speaking of Metro, this week WMATA increased service on the Red Line. Now, Red Line trains arrive every 6 minutes (up from 8 minutes) on weekdays until 9:30pm. This is good news for neighbors in Takoma, Fort Totten, and other Ward 4 residents who rely on the Red Line.
Takoma Pool Closures Friday through Monday
Takoma Aquatic Center will be CLOSED to the public on Friday, June 16 starting at 6:30pm, Saturday, June 17 from 10am-1pm, and all day on Sunday, June 18 while the pool hosts DPR swimming meets. Takoma Aquatic Center and all indoor pools in DC will also be closed all day on Monday, June 19 in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.
Update on Curbside Composting Pilot Program
If you signed up for DC’s free curbside composting pilot program, you should have received an email notifying you whether you were accepted into the program earlier this week. If you didn’t hear back, first check your spam email folder, then email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask.
Commemorate a Historic Ward 4, Group, or Event
The Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street is planning a commemorative project — a statue, sculpture, or plaque installed somewhere in Ward 4 — to honor a local historical figure, event, or organization. The project’s nomination form is now open so you can submit your nominations for the project through June 28. Subjects can include a person who has been deceased for at least 10 years or an event that has occurred at least ten years ago.
Host a Roosevelt HS Exchange Student for a Week
This fall, Roosevelt High School will host exchange students from France and Poland, who need local host families to take them in during their brief stay. Host families provide dinner during the week and meals on weekends, take park in weekend activities, and answer questions about DC and the US. Learn more about this program and apply to host on this form.
Enjoy Caribbean Restaurant Week in Ward 4
This weekend marks the end of Caribbean Restaurant Week, which runs June 11-17. Take the opportunity to visit our amazing Ward 4 Caribbean restaurants this weekend and all year long!
Local News Links
Planet Forward: DC Community Activists Win All-Electric Bus Fleet in Ward 4
Washington Post: Home Rule Music Festival celebrates DC’s roots and rhythm
Petworth News: Help Pick a New Commemorative Artwork for Ward 4
DCist: On Anniversary Of George Floyd’s Death, Biden Vetoes Congressional Attempt To Block DC Police Bill
DCist: DC Council Votes To Keep Crime Lab Independent Of Police Department
DCist: DC to Start Enforcing Bus-Only Lanes with Cameras In July, With Fines To Follow
Axios: Capital Jewish Museum opens, Devoted to the Story of Jewish Life in DC
Washington Post: DC Council caps rent hikes in rent-stabilized buildings amid inflation
DCist: ‘Everybody Needs To Be Brave’: For One DC Drag Queen, The Show Must Go On
Channel 4: Ida B Wells Middle School in Ward 4 Offers Cosmetology Class to Students
Next Stop… Riggs Park: Update on Fort Totten Park Soil Testing Issue
Saturday, June 24: OSSE’s Annual In-Person Adult College & Credentials Fair
DPR: Hundreds of Jobs Available with the DC Department of Recreation
This week we honored a true Ward 4 community hero: Coach Rob Nickens has been building up young men and winning games for decades at Roosevelt High School as the head coach of Roosevelt’s Boys Varsity Basketball Team. Late last year, he scored the 400th victory of his career and was featured in The Washington Post. Coach Rob also serves as a Roving Leader for DPR, where he engages youth in our community and helps them find the right path. In his own words: “What we do here is bigger than ball. It’s bigger than wins and losses, too.” Indeed, Coach Nickens has fully devoted himself to being a mentor for generations of young people in Ward 4. So last night we surprised him with a ceremonial resolution recognizing his incredible impact on and off the court. And in the same evening, we celebrated Roosevelt teachers and staff for their deep dedication to our students. Like Coach Nickens, they show up for students day in and day out — making them feel supported and loved no matter what.
June is a month full of celebration. On Sunday, we celebrate Fathers’ Day by honoring the fathers in our lives and in our loving memories — whose unconditional love and sacrifice sustain families and communities across our country. Thank you for everything you do, dads! And on Monday, we celebrate Juneteenth and its principles of justice and liberation for Black people in our nation. More than a celebration, Juneteenth is also a reminder that our freedom is an enduring struggle that every generation needs to fight to uphold. I am proud that Ward 4 has great events planned this weekend to both honor our fathers and observe Juneteenth.
And last weekend, we gathered Downtown, Uptown, at Sherman Circle, and all over DC to celebrate Pride Month! It was heartwarming to see so many neighbors joyfully celebrating. Together, we made it clear that we are committed to making our city even more welcoming and inclusive for everyone — and that we will stand up against any form of prejudice. Love is love!
Happy Juneteenth Weekend, Ward 4.
Yours in Community,