Friday, February 22, 2019

Ward 5 Report: Black History Month and Moms Who Enterprise

From: Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2019 4:10 PM
Ward 5 Report: Black History Month and Moms Who Enterprise


As we celebrate Black history during the month of February, I want to share with you the phenomenal achievements of some of the best of Wards 5, both past and present. African American history and culture is a core component of the identity of not only the District of Columbia, but our nation as well. I am honored to share the story of a Ward 5 African American hero and a group of local African American teen authors.

Ten African American teen authors between the age of 11 and 13 co-authored the award-winning book “The Day Tajon Got Shot”. On February 4, I had the privilege of hosting these remarkable young women to present them with a ceremonial resolution from the DC Council. Their work on the book began in March of 2015, through a teen writing program developed by
Beacon House, an after-school education and youth development nonprofit in the Edgewood community of Ward 5. It came at a time when a national conversation on police interactions with the community was sweeping the nation. They launched their book in March 2017 and since then, they have received local and national recognition. These brilliant young women have represented their families, Beacon House, Ward 5, and the District of Columbia well. During this Black History Month, I celebrate T'Asia Bates, J'yona Calloway, Reiyanna Davis, Jonae Haynesworth, Makiya Holmes, Rose McKoy, Najae Purvis, Serenity Summers, Jeanet Teneyck, and Temil Whipple on their well-deserved recognition.

Charles Hamilton Houston, a native Washingtonian and a graduate of Dunbar High School in Ward 5, was a groundbreaking legal scholar who served as the first special counsel to the NAACP, mentor to Thurgood Marshall and Dean of the Howard University Law School. Charles Hamilton Houston also helped dismantle housing discrimination. The landmark Supreme Court case that found racially restrictive housing covenants unconstitutional, Shelley v. Kraemer, included in a companion case, named Hurd v. Hodge.

That case was based on a house on the 100 block of Bryant Street NW in the Bloomingdale community. The Hurd family was represented by Charles Hamilton Houston. You may recall that last year, I introduced a bill to build a statue to honor the life and amazing legacy of Charles Hamilton Houston, along with 7 other Native Washingtonians who are women or people of color. I was able to secure funding to build a statue honoring Charles Hamilton Houston. The commission that will determine where and how Mr. Houston’s contributions will be memorialized met for the first time in early February. I am very proud to be championing the effort to ensure Mr. Houston's legacy continues to be honored by future Washingtonians.

Throughout the month of February, I have shared past and present stories of African Americans connected to Ward 5. To follow my Black History month tributes follow me on
Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

In service,


Legislative Update

On February 4, Councilmember McDuffie introduced legislation to establish the DC Center for Firearm Violence Prevention and Research. The Center would address the nature and impacts of firearm violence on individuals and communities. The Center is modeled after the successful California-based Firearm Violence Research Center. It would be housed at an academic research institution in the District and would be required to produce a report every three years on the following: grants made, pending grants, program accomplishments, and the future direction of the program. Watch Councilmember McDuffie introduce the legislation above or read the Washington Post's coverage of the bill.

Performance Oversight Hearings

Beginning this month, the Council held a series of Performance Oversight Hearings for each agency in the District government to review their operations for the previous year. Along with agency leadership, the public is invited to give testimony and provide comments. Ward 5 residents are strongly encouraged to testify and let your priorities be heard. This is truly one of the best opportunities for residents to be informed about the work of District agencies, and speak directly to how the agencies are performing. Below is a schedule of selected performance oversight hearings, listed by agency. A full list of agency hearing dates, as well as more detailed information on the hearings below, can be found on the DC Council website.

Kenyan in the Community

Know Any Moms Who Enterprise?

At the beginning of this month, Councilmember McDuffie took part in the kickoff for the Moms Who Enterprise, a program which is designed to develop financial and entrepreneurship skills for women in the District of Columbia between the ages of 18 to 30, pregnant or parenting, and currently looking to take their businesses to the next level. The program will take place over six weeks at Trinity University in Ward 5 and applications are now open, with a deadline of Monday, February 25. Councilmember McDuffie was pleased to support this worthy endeavor.

Be sure to see his comments from the kickoff from a recent Washington Afro article: “When I heard about the Moms Who Enterprise program I got really excited about it, I wanted to make sure we hosted the announcement of this in Ward 5 because it’s the type of program to train and provide skills about entrepreneurship to mothers and soon to be mothers who, in many cases, are heading single family households and coming from environments where they lack resources.”

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