Translate automatically via Google:

Para recibir asistencia en Español, llame a nuestra oficina al 202-531-8320 በአማርኛ እርዳታ ከፈለጉ በዚህ ቁጥር ይደውሉ 202-531-8320

Ward 4 Dispatch: Nearing a Final Budget, Juneteenth, and Celebrating Amphibian Week

Dear Neighbors,

This was an eventful week for our legislative work on the Council. On Wednesday, we held our second vote on the FY25 budget, bringing us closer the finish line on our budget work for the year. I’ll be recapping the full budget after our final vote later this month, and I’m excited to let you know about some of the wins we’ve secured for Ward 4.

We also celebrated another legislative achievement on Thursday, when we joined Powell Elementary School to recognize their resolution designating an Official Amphibian Week for DC, which passed into law last month. These students have worked hard to make this idea a reality, and it was a joy to join them to mark this accomplishment.

We’ve got some exciting events coming up in the Ward this weekend! In case you missed out on the busy weekend of Pride we had last week, there are even more events coming up on Saturday and Sunday, including Uptown Pride on Saturday.

Finally, next week, DC will experience a heat wave, with temperatures approaching 100 degrees later in the week. When extreme weather like this comes along, its essential we all look out for the safety of our neighbors. If you see someone in need, contact the Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093, and to find cooling center locations and other resources the city offers for hot days like this, click here.

Here’s the latest from the last week:

Reaching a Final Budget 

On Wednesday, the Council held its second and last vote on the Local Budget Act, locking in the funding changes that will be included in our final budget plan. Later this month, we will close out our budget work for the year by taking a final vote on the Budget Support Act, which solidifies the budget’s legislative language. I’ll be sharing all the contents of the final budget and what it accomplishes for Ward 4 after that vote, but this week, I’d like to discuss a few of the policy wins we achieved on Wednesday and give some overarching thoughts on our work thus far. 

One of the biggest changes the Council approved on Wednesday was providing an additional $595,380 to the DC Housing Authority for more Local Rent Supplement vouchers for families. At the start of the budget process, we received a plan from the Mayor that contained no money for additional vouchers and are now bringing the full amount to 577 new vouchers for 2025. By funding this essential support for those struggling to afford housing, this budget prioritizes keeping families in our community out of homelessness. 

Finally, I was grateful to be able to fully fund the Second Chance Act, a crucial piece of legislation giving many of the 1 in 7 adults in DC who have publicly available criminal records the opportunity to seal those records. This policy, which will go into effect next year, will help many in our community with non-dangerous, non-convictions access housing, employment, or other opportunities that they might not otherwise have available. 

As our work nears a close, we must remember that the problems facing District residents will not go away with the completion of this budget. Through the hard work of activists and partnership within the Council, we’ve been able to fund innovative policies and reverse cuts that were made to some of DC’s most essential services. But we’ll need the sustained efforts of each and every activist, lawmaker, and community member to continue the fight to solve the most challenging problems facing our community. The work goes on.

Updates on Lafayette Field

At Tuesday’s legislative meeting, the Council voted unanimously to approve my temporary resolution preventing DGS from installing a turf field at Lafayette Elementary School. I proposed this bill last month after the agency unilaterally decided to install a turf field at Lafayette, despite opposition from ANC 3/4G, Friends of Lafayette Park, and members of the community.  

During last month’s consideration of my emergency resolution on Lafayette, a supermajority of Councilmembers voted to approve the measure while postponing further action, giving DGS the opportunity to properly engage the community. Since then, there hasn’t been any attempt to get the community’s feedback or take into account residents’ clearly-articulated desire to preserve the grass field. 

Lafayette Field is a community resource, and the community has spoken clearly and consistently. I’ll continue to work with DGS to make sure this community resource is kept as the community wants it to be. 

Ward 4 Public Safety Meetings

Recently, I’ve received questions from community members about how best to stay updated on public safety issues in our neighborhoods. One of the best ways to stay engaged is to connect directly with our 4th District MPD, who offers several helpful resources for community members:

  • 4th District Community Group
    • 4th District MPD operates a community listserv, providing residents with the latest public safety updates. Through this group, community members can also ask questions and get answers directly from MPD. To join the community listserv, click here.
  • 4th District Commander’s Walks
    • Each week, 4th District Commander Lavenhouse organizes public safety walks in the community, bringing together law enforcement, ANC commissioners, and neighbors. The location for the walk is chosen based on the events of the previous week, and my team also joins these walks to give the latest updates on our public safety work. You can join the 4th District listserv to get updates on when and where these walks will be scheduled.
  • 4th District Sector Meetings
    • In addition to Commander’s walks, 4th District MPD holds regular sector meetings to engage with the community to help better understand the events and processes happening in our neighborhoods. To attend these meetings, join the listserv or reach out to Community Outreach Officer Robert Hamrick at To locate your PSA and sector, click here
  • 4th District Citizens Advisory Council Meetings
    • The 4th District Citizens Advisory Council is a non-government community organization that works to communicate, collaborate and coordinate information with MPD. 4th District CAC meets every month, excluding July and August. The next meeting will be on Thursday, June 20th. You can join by reaching out to

Official Amphibian Week

The highlight of my week came on Thursday morning, when I visited Powell Elementary School to present the third-grade class with an official resolution they wrote, marking the establishment of an Official Amphibian Week for DC. This legislative milestone has been years in the making, and started when students at Powell began studying the Red-backed Salamander — an amphibian common in DC’s wooded areas — both in class and out. After developing an interest in the salamander and its importance to DC’s local ecosystem, a group of students began advocating for the first full week of May to become DC’s official Amphibian Week. I was excited to help them advocate for this legislation, and last month, the Council passed the Amphibian Week resolution into law. 

In the fall, the Council will be considering another bill the students drafted, that would declare the Red-backed Salamander the official amphibian of DC. We’ll be holding a hearing on this bill in a few months, and I hope to see many of the students there to share their advocacy skills and amphibian expertise!

Beyond the legislation itself, I’m incredibly proud of our Ward 4 students’ passion, dedication, and teamwork. Inspired by what they learned, they wrote a petition, gathered support within their community, wrote the legislation, and successfully advocated for it to be passed into law. They were also joined by student journalists from Whittier Elementary School who came to report on this special day and interview the Powell students who made it possible. I can’t wait to see how our Ward 4 students put these skills to use to make an impact on their communities. 

Community Resources

ERAP Applications

On July 1st at 12pm, the Department of Human Services will re-open the portal for residents seeking emergency rental assistance (ERAP). ERAP can help residents pay overdue rent, including late fees and court costs, as well as security deposit and first month’s rent for a new residence.

  • Note: Due to high demand, we expect the portal to reach its limit and close to new applications within just a few hours. That means any applicants should make sure you’re ready to submit your full application at noon. Click here to learn more about the documents needed to submit a complete application. 

Maret Bulk Trash Drop-Off Day

On Saturday, June 15th from 9am to 1pm, Maret School will be hosting a bulk trash drop-off day. There will be several Maret community members on hand who can help you with unloading your vehicle, or you can load items into the dumpster yourself, including bulk trash and electronic waste. The event will be held at the front circle of the Episcopal Center for Children at 5901 Utah Ave. The following items will NOT be accepted: Construction/renovation debris, fuels and oils, mattresses, medical waste, batteries, paint cans with liquid paint inside, and tires.

DDOT Presentation on Grant Circle 

On June 17th at 7pm, DDOT will be presenting their revised traffic safety plan for Grant Circle at Center City PCS in Petworth (510 Webster St NW). This meeting, organized by ANC 4C, will give community members the opportunity to hear directly from DDOT about their proposed changes to address traffic safety concerns in and around the circle. (Note: this event was postponed from its prior date of June 5th.)

WMATA Better Bus Network Pop-Up

On Tuesday, June 18th from 7 to 11am, WMATA is hosting a Better Bus Discovery pop-up event on its proposed 2025 network changes to bus service across DC. The pop-up will take place at the Friendship Heights Metro Station and will be a good opportunity to learn more about WMATA’s proposal, share your feedback, and have all your questions answered by the Better Bus team. Plus, you’ll receive a special Better Bus giveaway. 

DCPS Afterschool Program Registration

Registration opened last week for afterschool programs for the 2024-25 school year. These programs provide students with academic support, a free meal or snack, and a variety of enrichment activities provided by DCPS teachers, paraprofessionals, and partner organizations across 10 schools in Ward 4. To learn more and register your student, click here

WMATA Better Bus Network Town Hall

On Thursday, June 27th, at 6:30pm, WMATA will be hosting a town hall at Coolidge High School to answer questions from community members about its proposed Better Bus Network Plan. This will be an excellent opportunity for community members to engage directly with WMATA on the details of the plan. To RSVP to the town hall, click here.

Special Waste Collection Event at Carter Barron

On June 29th from 8am to 2pm, DPW will be hosting its quarterly special waste collection event for household hazardous waste, electronics recycling, and document shredding at the Carter Barron Tennis Center. Learn more about the event here, and to see the list of items that will be accepted and prohibited, click here.

OAG Community-Based Grant Programs

The Office of the Attorney General is currently seeking proposals from non-profit community-based organizations interested in operating the FY25 Cure the Streets, Domestic Workers Employment Rights, Leaders of Tomorrow: Youth Violence Prevention, and Workplace Rights grant program. OAG will be holding virtual and in-person pre-solicitation conferences to discuss application requirements, program guidelines and to answer questions about each grant program. Click here to see the full schedule of meetings.

DPR Summer Programs 

Registration is open for DPR’s summer programs! These programs are geared towards people of all ages, and include programs for yoga, theater, nature photography, aquatics, and so much more. Additionally, reduced rates are available for qualifying families. Check out the full list of programs and register here!

DPW Helping Hand Neighborhood Clean-Up

Each year from March 1st to October 1st, DPW supports community groups organizing Saturday neighborhood clean-up projects through the Helping Hand Program. The program lends toolkits with five rakes and brooms, two shovels, and 20 trash bags. DPW will send trucks to collect the bagged trash and a SWEEP (Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Program) inspector will collect the tool kit. To receive an application for a Helping Hand toolkit for your neighborhood clean-up project, contact the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311.

DPR Boost Camps

Registration is open for the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Summer Boost Camps! Boost Camps are specialty enrichment camps geared toward tweens ages 11-13. Each day is a combination of enrichment and social-emotional learning with additional access to physical activities like swimming, dance, and group fitness. There will also be time for arts and crafts, games, puzzles, and free play. Click here for more details and to register.

Apply for Tuition Support from DC

Applications are open for DC Futures, DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DC TAG), and the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program. These are three popular tuition support programs for DC residents pursuing higher education. Applications will close on Friday, September 6th. Learn more and apply!

Free Counseling Services for Medicaid Recipients

Olive Tree Counseling Services provides District youth and families with mental and behavioral health supports and offers convenient telehealth visits without the lengthy delay for appointments. This is a free service funded via Medicaid. Olive Tree takes a trauma informed approach with licensed professionals expanding access and reducing barriers to assistance with continuity across the patient’s medical care including family therapy to strengthen the family unit. Learn more on Olive Tree’s website here.

Neighborhood Events

Home Rule Music Festival

The third annual Home Rule Music Festival is just around the corner! The main event is an all-day outdoor, family-friendly music festival that includes a Youth Village with kid-focused activities and games, a Record Fair with local shops and vendors, superb food trucks and drink vendors, and of course terrific live jazz and go-go music. You can get your free tickets for next Saturday (!!) June 22nd at The Parks at Walter Reed here. Mark your calendars to celebrate the best of Washington, D.C.’s music and culture!

Uptown Pride Festival

Uptown Pride is this Saturday, June 15th, from 2 to 7pm at the intersection of 14th and Colorado Ave NW! The event will feature drag story hour, face painting, family yoga, and much more, with all proceeds benefiting LGBTQIA+ advocacy group SMYAL. See you there!

Charles B. Walker Culture Club Juneteenth Bazaar

Join the Charles B. Walker Culture Club to “Embrace Black Joy” at Zion Baptist Church for the club’s Juneteenth Bazaar! Many excellent vendors will feature fresh produce, jewelry, clothing, handbags, books, art, crafts, body butters, soaps, candles, food, ice cream, music, performances and more! For more information, contact Sis. Elaine Saunders at

Conversations on Health at Zion Baptist Church

On Saturday, June 22nd, Zion Baptist Church is hosting a community health education and awareness event in partnership with the National Medical Association and Project IMPACT 2.0. The theme of the conversation will be “Importance of African American Representation in Clinical Trials,” and will be held from 9:30am to 2pm at Zion Baptist Church at 4850 Blagden Ave NW. 

Uptown Farmer’s Market 

The FRESHFARM Uptown Farmer’s Market is happening every Saturday from 9am to 1pm through November! Stop by for high-quality fruits, vegetables, meats, and breads, and to support local producers. All FRESHFARM markets accept SNAP/EBT, WIC and Senior FMNP checks. Learn more here.

Live Jazz on Kennedy Street

Over the next few months, Home Rule Records will be organizing monthly live jazz performances on the 700 block of Kennedy Street NW, with sponsorship from Uptown Main Street, DSLBD, Realtor Eddie Suarez, and others. Performances will be continuing through September with free live jazz performances each month. The next performance is on July 17th at 7pm with jazz musician Harlan Jones!

Summer in the Parks at Carter Barron

Every Thursday evening in June, Rock Creek Park and Rock Creek Conservancy will be hosting free, family-friendly events at Carter Barron. Come out and join us for music, fun-for-all-ages games, and activities. The next event will be on Thursday, June 20th, from 6 to 8pm. Learn more and register here

Defend Yourself Bystander Training

On Saturday, June 15th at 1:30pm, join ANC 4B for an empowering bystander training session at the Takoma Park Neighborhood Library! Learn practical skills to intervene safely and effectively in situations of harassment or violence. This in-person event will equip you with the tools and confidence to make a difference in your community. Don’t miss this opportunity to defend yourself and others. Learn more and register here. The event will also have a virtual option. To log in, click here

For more local events, check out DPR, DC Public Library, and NPS.

Ward 4 in the News

Washingtonian: Meet the Kids Behind the Movement to Designate an Official DC Amphibian

WTOP: Should this salamander be the District’s official amphibian?

Petworth News: Home Rule Music Festival returns to The Parks at Walter Reed — definitely an amazing show

WTOP: DC public libraries celebrate Pride Month with free drag story times and performances

The Washington Post: The 44 best things to do in D.C. this weekend and next week

Petworth News: Take advantage of the DC Security Camera Rebate Program

Next Stop…Riggs Park: Proposed Metro Stop Consolidation

WUSA: NOAA STEM Day at Brightwood Elementary

Sunday was an exciting day in Ward 4, with big Pride celebrations happening in Petworth and Takoma. Thank you to everyone who showed up and made the events spectacular. The celebration continues tomorrow with Uptown Pride, and I can’t wait to see you all there!

In addition to Pride, June is also Caribbean American Heritage Month! Ward 4 has one of the largest Caribbean populations in DC, and with Caribbean Restaurant Week happening this week, I hope you’ll celebrate by stopping by one of Ward 4’s many delicious Caribbean restaurants!

This week, we learned that Robert L. Matthews, the director of DC’s Child and Family Services Agency, will be stepping down from his role at CFSA. Director Matthews has spent over a decade at CFSA and his accomplishments have been widespread, from supporting the development and launch the 211 warmline, to being instrumental in transforming the District’s foster care system. Director Matthews has been an incredible partner in our work on the Committee on Facilities and Family Services, and I thank him for his dedication to the people of DC. 

I also wanted to take a moment to recognize ANC 4E Commissioner Vanessa Rubio, who was awarded with MPD’s 2023 Chief of Police Award for her commitment to creating a strong relationship between the community and MPD. Commissioner Rubio has done outstanding work in recent years, especially around accessibility, creating opportunities for Spanish and Amharic speakers to access discussions around public safety. Congratulations, Commissioner Rubio!

This morning, I stopped by Whittier Elementary School to congratulate Mrs. Mann on her retirement from teaching. Mrs. Mann has been teaching for 25 years, 18 of those at Whittier, and has been a fixture of our Ward 4 community. We’ll miss having you at Whittier, Mrs. Mann!

And finally, on Wednesday, we will celebrate Juneteenth and its message of justice and liberation for Black people in our nation. Juneteenth is a reminder that our freedom is an enduring struggle that every generation needs to fight to uphold.

Have a great weekend, and Happy Father’s Day!

Yours in Community,