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Ward 4 Dispatch: Vaccine Updates, Homeowner Assistance, Graduations, and Community Events

Dear Neighbors,

Once again, I’m writing to you as we grapple with the catastrophic impact of several extremist Supreme Court decisions, including today’s decision eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion. And earlier this week, we had rulings that expanded access to guns, compromised our Miranda Rights, and further deteriorated the separation of church and state.

I will have more to share regarding our legislative response to these decisions at a later point, but first I want to emphasize that DC remains a safe haven for anyone seeking reproductive health care. There continues to be access to safe and legal abortion care in the District. And as your Councilmember, I promise that we will fight back relentlessly against any future efforts by Congress to restrict abortion access in DC. I want to encourage you to check out this resource from the DC Attorney General on what the Supreme Court’s decision means for DC residents. I will continue to stand with our community in organizing, protesting, and legislating to defend our fundamental rights.

My newsletter this week includes several important updates on our community and our city. Parents who are looking for a respite: there’s a great family fest and kids movie night happening now on Kennedy Street in case you want to head over. That’s just one of the many great events taking place over the next week. Here’s all that I have to share:


Ward 4 and Community News

COVID Vaccines for Children Under 5 Now Widely Available in DC

After receiving FDA authorization and the CDC’s recommendation, COVID vaccines for children under 5 are now widely available in DC. DC families are able to get their children vaccinated at any DC COVID Center, select retail pharmacies, or at their pediatrician. COVID Centers carry both the Moderna (2-shot series) and Pfizer (3-shot series) vaccines for children under 5. Each COVID Center has ample supply of both vaccines. There are occasionally lines during the morning or post-work hours, but the wait is not very long. Parents are no longer required to prove DC residency, so you can leave your paperwork at home. And some COVID Centers are even providing a little gift for our young vaccine recipients. I had the chance to visit the Ward 4 COVID Center this week to check in on families getting the shot for their little ones. I was glad to see everything running smoothly and am grateful to the friendly and helpful DC Health Staff. “DC Health recommends that all children between six months and four years old receive this vaccine as soon as possible, preferably through their primary care physician who can also provide other important childhood vaccinations.” Read DC Health’s full announcement for more information on how to get the COVID vaccine for young children.

Thank You for Participating in the DC Primary Election

Ward 4 has a proud and important history of civic engagement. We honored that history on Tuesday with strong participation in the DC Primary Election. As of now, more Ward 4 residents voted in the DC Primary Election than any other Ward except for Ward 3, which is only ahead by fewer than a hundred votes. Ward 4 also had the highest number of ballots cast in person through early voting and on Election Day. Thank you to everyone who participated in this election as a candidate, staff member, volunteer, or neighbor. Our democracy is stronger and our government is more representative when we all show up to do our part! You can check out unofficial results from the DC Board of Election website. Tip: you can also look at “Voting Statistics” by clicking the blue button on the upper right corner of the screen and selecting the categories you’re interested in. DC BOE has been steadily updating these results as the final ballots are counted, and it will continue to do so through June 28 for ballots that arrive by mail (as long as they are postmarked by June 21).

I also wanted to remind neighbors that now is the time to start thinking about representing your neighborhood as an ANC Commissioner. ANC Commissioners are dedicated, nonpartisan elected representatives who each represent approximately 2,000 residents within a Single Member District (SMD). Consult Ward 4’s new ANC and SMD boundaries to see which SMD you live in. And please let me know if you have any questions. Prospective ANC candidates will be able to pick up nominating petitions from the Board of Elections by July 20. To qualify, prospective candidates must collect at least 25 valid signatures from residents of their SMD and submit them by August 10. 

Spread the Word: Help Is Here for DC Homeowners Who Fell Behind

This week, the $50 million DC received in federal relief funds finally were made available for DC homeowners who fell behind during the pandemic. This program can cover up to $120,000 per eligible household in mortgage payments and other expenses, such as: housing association fees, condo fees, coop fees, property taxes, utilities, internet bills, and more. To be eligible, you must be a DC homeowner with your home serving as your primary residence since June 2021, must have fallen behind on housing or utility expenses, must fall within the income guidelines, and must have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic. The program is very broad in its benefits and inclusive in its eligibility, so please don’t hesitate to apply if these funds could support you. And please help spread the word about this program to any DC resident you know who may need it. It is essential that we help our neighbors overcome the financial impact of the pandemic, which had a devastating impact on some in our community. It would be unconscionable for anyone to risk having their home foreclosed on when help is readily available. To learn more or apply for these essential funds, visit haf.dc.gov.

Earlier this year, I extended DC’s foreclosure moratorium to prevent residents from being displaced while we waited for these funds to be released. This coming Tuesday, I will move additional emergency legislation to extend the deadline for applying to the Homeownership Assistance Fund from August 30 to September 30, 2022 to give residents more time to learn about and apply for this program. If passed, my emergency legislation will further protect a homeowner from foreclosure while their application is being processed even beyond September 30. And it will also require housing lenders, homeowner associations, and DC government agencies to expand outreach efforts and provide notice about the Homeownership Assistance Fund to impacted residents so that we can prevent foreclosure and displacement in our communities. Still, do not delay submitting your application since funds are limited!


Neighborhood Events

“Zootopia” Outdoor Movie Night and Family Fest on Kennedy Street

On Friday, June 24 at 6pm-9:30pm Uptown Main Street and Everyday Sundae are celebrating the start of summer with a family festival and movie night that includes music, games, a foam party, food, popcorn, and ice cream at Johnson & Jenkins (716 Kennedy Street NW). Dance Loft will offer free dance classes to the beat of Disney’s Zootopia from 7pm-8pm, and the screening of Zootopia will kick off at 8:30pm. Bring lawn chairs or a picnic blanket, and kids are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite animal!

Lamond Community Action Group Community Day 

On Saturday, June 25 from 11am-2pm the Lamond Community Action Group is hosting their 2022 Community Day! It will be a day full of food, fun, family, and friends over at Milligant Point (Sligo Mill Rd & Rittenhouse St NE). If you live in the area, come meet your neighbors!

Wear Your Pride Uptown Main Street Block Party

On Saturday, June 25 from 1pm-4pm Uptown Main Street will host their second annual Wear Your Pride Block Party on Upper 14th Street, sponsored by Solar Solutions. They’ll have music, outdoor games, street entertainers, raffles, a photo booth, food, drinks, and specials from the local businesses. Join the party and bring the family!

Takoma Pride Day with Kids Parade and Laurel Ave Celebration

On Sunday, June 26 from 10am-2pm Takoma Pride Day will take place with a theme of “Just Say Gay” celebrating diversity and acceptance. The festivities will be based at the Streetery (6929 Laurel Ave) and include free swag, history, community LGBTQ+ resources, chalking, juggling, face painting, drag queen story time, and tap-dancing. There will also be a kids parade at 10am starting from the TPSS Coop (201 Ethan Allen Ave) and ending at Laurel Ave. Check out the full schedule online.

Ward 4 Summer Safety Strategic Planning Meeting

On Wednesday, June 29 from 5pm-7pm at MacFarland Middle School (4400 Iowa Ave NW), we will host a Ward 4 Summer Safety Strategic Meeting that’s open to all Ward 4 residents. Our office and key agencies will lay out specific actions to address crime and gun violence during the summer, as well as share opportunities for neighbors to support these important efforts. Please RSVP to join us. This will be an in-person meeting, but we will also try to share a livestream so neighbors can watch from home.

Rosé on the Plaza: First Summer Happy Hour at the Parks at Walter Reed

On Friday, July 1 from 5:30pm-7:30pm the Parks at Walter Reed will host Rosé on the Plaza, the first of a series of summer happy hours for people to enjoy a drink, dance, and mingle. The event is free, with beverages and food available to purchase. The event will take place at the Arts Plaza (6310 Cameron Drive NW) and RSVP is required.

IndiePendents Day at the 14th Street Graffiti Museum

On Saturday, July 3 from 4pm-10pm the 14th Street Graffiti Museum at 4632 14th St NW (Rear) will host IndiePendents Day, a celebration with live performances, a vinyl market, DJs, and screenings of the hip-hop history documentary Fresh Convos. It’ll be a family-friendly event where all are welcome.

4th of July Independence Day Celebration at the Soldiers Home

On Monday, July 4 from 4:30pm-9pm the Friends of the Soldiers Home will host their 10th annual Independence Day Celebration at the Soldiers Home. Come with your family to enjoy food, music, community fun, and a great view of the National Mall Fireworks. They’re also looking for volunteers for the event, so consider lending a hand while enjoying the holiday!

DCPL’s Dinosaur Roaring Contest and a Kids’ Photo Contest at Petworth Library

DCPL’s Dinosaur Roaring Contest is back and louder than ever! Send DCPL your best scream, shriek, growl, grunt, or howl by June 30 for the chance to win a trophy or a prize. All ages are welcome to submit a video of 10 seconds or less. Please use this form for entries, and learn more about the contest on DCPL’s website. Here is last year’s contest winner for inspiration! Meanwhile, Petworth Library has a kids’ photography contest for children ages 5-12 to submit their photos by June 29. Winning entries will be displayed in the library!

And check out your local Ward 4 Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm:  


Local Links

Washington Post: Bills WR Stefon Diggs pays it forward, hosts DC youth football camp at Emery Heights Community Center

WTOP News: Barnard Elementary DC teacher receives award for impact in, out of classroom

Petworth News: The Petworth Jazz Project returns this summer with three shows: July, August & September

Washington Post: Roosevelt Class of ’22 lauded for perseverance through pandemic, gun violence

Last Week’s Ward 4 Dispatch: Vaccines for Kids Under 5, Election Day, Stop Signs, and Community Events!

WUSA9: It took 7+ years for this DC neighborhood to get a 4-way stop sign approved


To end on a hopeful note: I want to take a moment to congratulate all of our high school graduates, as well as all of our young scholars being promoted from their middle schools and elementary schools this year. One of my great joys as your Councilmember is that I get to attend these ceremonies to meet these amazing young people in person and the family and school communities that supported them along the way.

Today I got to be with MacFarland Middle School’s Class of 2022 to deliver words of encouragement and wish Principal Mark Sanders well in his next endeavors. Both Principal Sanders from MacFarland and Principal Vroman from Ida B Wells are moving on this year. They will be greatly missed, and we are grateful for their exceptional leadership and service to our community.

I’m hoping we can all take time to rest, reflect, and be in community this weekend.

Yours in Service,
—Janeese

Maraki and Chioma, the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of MacFarland’s Class of 2022.