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April Newsletter

April 29, 2021


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 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.

In service,

Christina Henderson
At-Large Councilmember

Vaccine Walk Up


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:

  • I focused on strengthening language in the Economic Development element to better support our female, minority and resident owned businesses, incentivize grocery stores in food deserts, and encourage investment in the District’s broadband to close the digital divide.
  • I also provided recommendations on the Transportation element that will promote environmental justice by reducing diesel emissions in predominantly Black and Brown neighborhoods and implementing traffic calming measures in areas that have had the highest number of incidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.
  • And in the Land Use element I made some recommendations to ensure that terminology like “neighborhood character,” is not interpreted in a way to stymie efforts for building more affordable housing across the city.


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:

  • Introducing emergency legislation that mandates funding DCPS at 100% of their previous fiscal year’s budget.
  • Calling for funding the components of the Maternal Health Resources and Access Act to establish a pilot program for Medicaid reimbursement of doula services; require a feasibility study to establish a birthing center east of the Anacostia River; and provide transportation subsidies for rides to maternal health appointments.
  • Advocating for significant investment to fully implement the NEAR Act and other measures to reduce violence in communities in both the fiscal year 2021 supplemental and fiscal year 2022 budgets.
  • Recommending the immediate investment needed to fully implement all elements of the Vision Zero legislation passed by the Council in 2020.
DC Statehood

Councilmember Henderson rallying for DC Statehood with Ward 6 neighbors on The Wharf.


Legislation Updates

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.

  1. The New Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights would better protect the 116,000 student loan borrowers in the District.
  2. The RESTORE Act would overhaul our record sealing and expungement system to reduce barriers to housing and employment for returning citizens.
  3. Coming tomorrow: The Minors Access to Medical Records and Appointments Amendment Act would amend our minor consent laws allowing 16-year-olds to access medical records and schedule necessary appointments on their own behalf.
  4. Coming tomorrow: The SMART Act would allow 16-year-olds to access their school transcripts and records to ease stress and support students and minors who may be experiencing homelessness, in foster care or another trying situation.
  5. DCPS 2021-2022 Funding Stabilization Emergency Amendment Act would provide a stable level of investment needed to support students with funding for adequate school staffing, mental health resources, methods to address learning loss, and more. This resolution would require school funding levels for fiscal year 2022 to be at or above 100% of their fiscal year 2021 budgets. The need for this legislation is clear:

-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:

  • You can pick up an at-home COVID-19 test at your neighborhood library, then drop it back off in the same location for results.
  • DC residents who are homebound can call (855) 363-0333 to register for an at-home COVID-19 vaccination appointment.
  • Parking enforcement and requirements to renew vehicle registrations will restart June 1st. If you have outstanding parking or minor moving violations, you are eligible to have your late fees waived.
  • On May 1st, restaurants may have up to 10 people seated at one table, gyms will operate with 50% capacity, live music and theater venues will open with 25% capacity, and public and private pools will begin planning to open with safety protocols.
  • On May 3rd, libraries will add Saturday hours to all open locations, operating from Monday – Saturday at 10 AM - 6 PM. The new Southwest Library will open on May 6th.
  • If you were impacted by COVID-19 and are struggling or unable to pay rent, please visit to determine if you qualify for rental assistance.


Stay In Touch

Thank you for reading! Please stay in touch.

Christina Henderson
At-Large Councilmember

Mike Shaffer
Chief of Staff

Heather Edelman
Deputy Chief of Staff

T.J. Maloney
Legislative Director

Mykelle Richburg
Legislative Assistant

Ana Berríos-Vázquez
Constituent Services Director

Amanda Farnan
Communications Director