This past month has been filled with milestones: I reached my first 100 Days in office, we celebrated a historic vote for DC Statehood, and the District introduced new walk-up vaccination sites across the District. With this newsletter, I hope to keep you informed on the priorities my team and I are working on – all underscored by my belief that your zip code should not determine your opportunity for success. I’ve spent time this past month working with the Chairman on revisions to the Comprehensive Plan, gearing up to review the Mayor’s proposed FY2022 budget starting May 27th, introducing legislation that will prioritize our most vulnerable residents, attending oversight hearings and getting out in the community. You’ll find detailed updates on all these topics below.
Before we dive in, please share our new vaccination strategy with your neighbor. The District has transitioned away from the pre-registration portal and is focusing all efforts on 11 walk-up vaccination sites. These locations are open to all residents 18 years old and above. Residents who are 16 and 17 years old should get vaccinated through the District’s partnership with Children’s National, found here.
You will find the walk-up sites’ operating times and vaccine availability here at vaccinefinder.org. As you will see on this site, our pharmacies across the District – namely CVS pharmacies – also have ample supply. I thank you in advance for sharing this information with someone who may not receive my newsletter. In an effort to maximize communication around new vaccine walk-up sites, my team will be participating in the Day of Action on May 1st. I hope you will consider signing up here to get involved in the effort.
Finally, I’d like to share that at Tuesday’s Legislative Meeting, I plan to move emergency legislation requiring school funding levels to be at or above 100% of their fiscal year 2021 budgets. Investment is the first step in adequately supporting the next generation of District leaders. More on this below.
Comprehensive Plan Priorities
As a Councilmember who both understands the importance of the Comprehensive Plan and is joining the process of its revision much later than many of my colleagues, I have appreciated the opportunity to provide feedback to the Chairman regarding how to make this document as equitable and meaningful as we possibly can. Here are some of the things I worked on which will be included in the draft the Council will vote on May 4th:
Where We Are With The Budget
We continue to wait for the final fiscal year 2022 budget transmittal from the Mayor to the Council which will happen on May 27th. The revised schedule for budget hearings and markups has been released. Here are a few highlights of the new schedule.
Since sending my budget priorities in a letter to the Mayor back in early February, I have learned a lot. My priorities have been enhanced through meetings with community groups, experiences that have arisen, the hearings on various issues, and the release of the Police Reform Commission report. Informed through these events and more, I am fighting for a budget that will support most vulnerable communities first, which is why I am:
Councilmember Henderson rallying for DC Statehood with Ward 6 neighbors on The Wharf.
I am proud to fight for my legislative agenda focused on equity. On April 12th, I surpassed my first 100 Days in office and hope you will view this video that packs all our progress into just one minute. In addition to this milestone, I have introduced five bills in the past month.
-Despite great progress in treating and preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the 2020-2021 school year was severely disrupted by the ongoing need for remote education.
-It remains difficult to predict with precision what enrollment figures will look like when schools reopen in August. Families for whom English is a second language likely struggled to support virtual learning, yet may be more likely to re-enroll students with the return to in-person instruction.
-Press reports and analyses from education advocates indicate that DCPS could lose more than 90 teacher positions overall, including 57 teachers who instruct English language learners. Nearly 60 of the school system’s 117 campuses could lose some staff. The number of mental health professionals in DCPS schools is expected to stay flat.
-Many advocates for schools and students believe that DCPS must adopt a “hold harmless” approach to school-level budgeting that starts with a minimum funding amount equivalent to last year’s funding levels. This would reduce many of the staffing cuts anticipated under the initial budget allocations released in April.
In The Community
This past month, I have been thrilled to get out in the community and meet so many new neighbors. As more DC residents get vaccinated, I have had the privilege of attending in-person events like Petworth Porchfest, the Ward 6 rally for Statehood, the Ward 8 ‘Don’t Miss Your Shot’ Clinic, and garden pruning with students at C.W. Harris Elementary School. I have also participated in several virtual discussions. Among many, I was delighted to join the National Coalition for 100 Black Women’s monthly meeting and the virtual advocacy days for the DC chapters of both Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Councilmember Henderson kicking off Petworth Porchfest!
As I mentioned above, my team and I will be participating in the Day of Action on May 1st where we will canvass neighborhoods to help sign residents up for their COVID-19 vaccination appointments. I hope you will consider signing up to volunteer in your Ward!Constituent Services Corner
DC SNAP Benefits have restarted
The DC SNAP (food stamp) office has restarted recertification for benefits. Unfortunately, this March only 30% of required SNAP participants recertified. The remaining neighbors must reapply to receive the SNAP benefits they deserve. To apply or recertify, call (202) 640-1088 or visit this site.
Reopening guidelines in effect May 1st
Please find the most recent reopening guidelines for the District here. A few updates that are worth sharing:
Stay In Touch
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Chief of Staff
Deputy Chief of Staff
Constituent Services Director