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Ward 4 Dispatch: Emancipation Day, Taxes, and Family Egg Hunt!

Dear Neighbors,

As we enter the holiday weekend, I wish our Jewish community in Ward 4 a meaningful Passover and Seders filled with tradition and joy – surrounded by loved ones. To our neighbors celebrating Ramadan, I hope your fast is fruitful and leads to peace, reflection, and love. And to all celebrating Easter this weekend, I hope it brings a renewal of hope and a deepening of our commitment to one another. Today is also Emancipation Day in DC, when we honor the freeing of 3,100 enslaved DC residents eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation. I share a reflection on Emancipation Day at the end of this newsletter and share how it affects DC services.

This Monday at 5pm-7pm I’m excited to see Ward 4 families at our Egg Hunt and Basket Giveaway at Emery Rec Center! I’m also looking forward to being with our Sixteenth Street Heights community on Thursday for our next Ward 4 CARE Day. With COVID cases rising again in DC, it’s a great time for residents to get their vaccine or booster shot – especially residents who are 50 years or older or immunocompromised, who are now eligible for their second booster. I also have updates on a recent power surge in Petworth, filing your taxes, grants for small businesses, upcoming events, and more. The DC Council was on recess this week, but I’ll have many legislative updates to share with you next Friday. Here are all my updates from this week.

Ward 4 News

Responding to a Power Surge That Damaged Petworth Homes

This week we responded to a power surge in Petworth by 3rd and Upshur NW that damaged appliances, AC units, and light fixtures at approximately 25 homes. Going door-to-door, we’ve been able to reach most impacted neighbors and are working to ensure they are fully reimbursed for the damages. If you aren’t already in touch with my team and have been affected by this, please be sure to reach out. PEPCO has a virtual meeting with neighbors planned this Saturday at 11am to ensure concerns are addressed. We are also providing support to neighbors through the DC Public Service Commission, which protects the public interest, regulates utility companies, and helps mediate consumer complaints. 

Join Our Ward 4 Family Egg Hunt and Basket Giveaway!

Ward 4 families, this Monday, April 18 from 5pm-7pm I’m teaming up with Friends of Emery Community to host a Family Egg Hunt and Basket Giveaway after the holiday weekend. Be sure to join us at Emery Rec Center (5701 Georgia Ave NW) for fun activities, holiday baskets for our young Ward 4 residents, and community-building. Special thank you to Coach Lou for his partnership and AmeriHealth DC for donating the baskets. I’m looking forward to seeing you there and celebrating with you! 

Community Resources

Modified City Services for Emancipation Day Weekend

City Services today and this weekend are modified due to Emancipation Day. COVID testing sites, vaccination sites, Test Yourself drop-boxes, and COVID Centers are open today. All low-barrier shelters and drop-in centers for people experiencing homelessness remain open too. DPR outdoor parks, playgrounds, athletic courts, and fields are open today, but indoor recreation centers and aquatic centers are closed. Some select DC Public Library locations will be open from 10am-6pm today (including Petworth Library), but all DCPL locations will be closed tomorrow and Friday. And of course, there’s no parking enforcement today except down by the Streetcar. Learn more about modified city services at this link.

Federal and DC Taxes Due on April 18

We all have a short extension on our taxes this year! Because IRS offices and the DC Office of Tax Revenue are closed today to observe Emancipation Day, local and federal taxes are due on Monday, April 18 this year. Reminding that you that DC’s My Tax DC platform allows you to file your returns electronically for an accurate return and faster refund. You can also check the status of your refund, review tax records, or get real property tax information. I also wanted to remind eligible residents to claim refundable credits like the Keep Child Care Affordable Tax Credit for child care costs, the Homeowner/Renter Property Tax Credit (Schedule H), and the DC Earned Income Tax Credit. Thanks to the Homes and Hearts Amendment I co-introduced last year, DC now has the most generous DC EITC benefit in the country to support the working families who need it most. 

Second Boosters Available for Residents Who Are 50+ or Immunocompromised

DC Health announced that second COVID booster shots are available for residents who are 50 and older, as well as certain immunocompromised individuals who are at higher risk for severe COVID. To get your second booster, you must have received your first initial Pfizer or Moderna booster or the Johnson & Johnson’s booster at least four months ago. Eligible residents can get their second booster (or any previous vaccine dose) by walking up to a vaccine clinic or DC COVID Center, or by making an at-home vaccination appointment by calling 1-855-363-0333, or by making an appointment with your health provider. 

DCPS Families: Remember to Test Your Students before Returning to School

As part of ensuring a safe return to school next week after spring break, DCPS students need to take their rapid test and upload their results on Monday, April 18. School restarts for students on Tuesday, April 19. Meanwhile, DCPS teachers and staff are asked to take and upload their rapid test results on Sunday, April 17. Learn more on DCPS’ website

Community Alert: Beware of Scams!

In recent months there has been an uptick in scams, especially targeting our senior citizens. If you receive calls or text messages from someone you don’t know, do not send them any money or share any of your personal information These scams typically involve someone saying they’re in the hospital and need your help (and even sending fake photos), falsely claiming you won the lottery and need to submit a down payment to claim your prize, or claiming to be a relative or a government employee following up about a debt you owe. I’m working with the Department of Aging and Community Living (DACL) to address this issue, but in the meantime please be cautious and warn others you know who may be vulnerable.

Support for Our Community and Small Businesses

Here are some important opportunities for financial support in Ward 4. The Lamond Riggs Citizens Association is offering scholarships to graduating seniors from the Lamond Riggs community. Apply by May 9. Meanwhile, small businesses on the Upper Georgia Ave corridor can now apply for grants between $3,000-$5,000. Apply by April 29. In addition, Uptown Main Street and Petworth Main Street will also be issuing grants for small businesses along 14th Street, Kennedy Street, Upshur Street, and the middle part of Georgie Ave later this month, so stay tuned!

Help Locate Bruno and Reunite Him with His Owner

A 1-year-old French Bulldog named Bruno was stolen from his owner in Brightwood Park this week and his owner is asking for the community’s help to locate him. You can see a photo of Bruno in the flyer below. Please call 213-200-7137 or text 50411 if you see him. There’s a monetary award for safe return. Another dog that was stolen the same day has already been found and reunited with their owner, and several individuals suspected of being involved with the robbery have been arrested.

Neighborhood Events

Ward 4 Family Egg Hunt and Basket Giveaway

On Monday, April 18 at 5pm-7pm I’m teaming up with Friends of Emery Community to host a Family Egg Hunt and Basket Giveaway after the holiday weekend. Join us at Emery Rec Center (5701 Georgia Ave NW) for fun activities, holiday baskets for our young Ward 4 residents, and community-building.

Join Ward 4 CARE Day in Sixteenth Street Heights

On Thursday, April 21 from 4pm-7pm my team and I and community volunteers will be bringing Ward 4 CARE Day to Sixteenth Street Heights starting from Hamilton Rec Center (1340 Hamilton St NW). This was originally planned for this past Thursday, but we had to delay to next week due to the weather forecast. So join us as we check in on neighbors, share resources, problem solve with DC agencies, and bring our community closer together.

Petworth Spring Community Health Fair

On Saturday, April 23 from 10am-12pm Petworth Get Wise is hosting a community health fair at Petworth Rec Center (801 Taylor St NW). They’ll offer COVID vaccines, free COVID rapid tests, HIV screening, breast cancer information, blood pressure screening, a martial arts class at 11am, and a yoga class at 12:30pm (bring your own mat)! They’ll also have plenty of community partners there, so it’s bound to be a great event!

Spring Celebration & Egg Roll at the Parks at Walter Reed

On Saturday, April 23 from 10am-12pm the Parks at Walter Reed will host their spring celebration on the Great Lawn. Watch out for the Easter bunny, enjoy fresh donuts, hunt for eggs (bring your baskets), and get moving with games, relay races, yoga, and more! All are welcome to this free event, but remember to RSVP so they have enough supplies and eggs. There will also be a community yoga class at 9am on the Arts Plaza next to the dog park (6310 Cameron Drive NW). Please register for the free class. See you there!

Ward 4, Mark Your Calendars:

  • Petworth PorchFest returns on Saturday, April 30 from 2pm-6pm (sign up to volunteerperform, or host a band on your porch).  
  • Crestwood’s second annual plant swap will be held on Sunday, May 1 to share your extra seedlings, thinned non-invasive perennials, or excess house plants and cuttings.   
  • The annual Shepherd Park Citizens Association Garden Tour will be back and bigger than ever on Sunday, May 22.  
  • The Kennedy Street Festival will return this summer (tentatively on June 25) and is looking for volunteers! Fill out this form to help bring back this amazing festival.
  • NEW: The Celebrate Petworth Festival will also be back this year on Saturday, September 24 from 11am-5pm! You can help make it happen by volunteering.

I also wanted to plug DC Public Library’s April Haiku Contest as part of National Poetry Month for kids and adults!

"Unfurl your banners to the breeze!
Let Freedom's tocsin sound amain,
Until the islands of the seas
Re-echo with the glad refrain!
Columbia's free! Columbia's free!
Her teeming streets, her vine-clad groves,
Are sacred now to Liberty,
And God, who every right approves."

These are the words of abolitionist poet James Madison Bell on the freeing of 3,100 enslaved people in the District 160 years ago. Today we celebrate Emancipation Day as the “first blow against the edifice of slavery” and the day our city was freed “from the thrall of slavery forever.”

Yet even the earliest Emancipation Day celebrations recognized that our struggle for full equality continues. A cruel twist of history is that the home of the first Emancipation remains without voting representation in Congress and without full self-governance. Our cause for Statehood is one of the many unfulfilled ideals for true equality and justice.

We keep marching on together.

Yours in Community,