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Councilmember Henderson's Newsletter

February 18, 2023


Happy Black History Month! There has been nationwide controversy about how the contributions of Black Americans have and will be taught throughout K-12 education and beyond. In DC, there is robust discussion about what content will be included in the revised Social Studies Standards determined by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. While these conversations may make some uncomfortable, it is important that we engage in them.

DC has local history we should boast about, and we are thankful to the residents, nonprofits, and federal and local agencies that work to preserve and educate us on the ways Black Washingtonians have advocated for our freedoms and our statehood. Black history is in the walls of John Phillip Sousa Middle School, where in 1950, 11-year-old Spottswood Bolling, Jr. tried and failed to attend the then all-white school. His parents and advocates would sue the District and that case became a companion case in the class action lawsuit known as Brown vs Board of Education (1954). Black history lives at 1411 W Street SE, where Frederick Douglass, a Civil Rights and abolition forefather lived. Douglass also fought for statehood, voting rights, and the education of DC residents. I could go on and on.

Understanding Black history is vital for all of us, and it also goes beyond what is taught in the classroom. We learn Black history by talking to our fellow Washingtonians, both native and transplanted. We learn Black history by traveling throughout all four quadrants of our city - observing and connecting with the hundreds of historical markers. While the month may be coming to an end, you can uplift this history all year long.

In service,

Christina Henderson

Councilmember, At-Large

                                                                                                                                             Legislative Updates

Today, Councilmember Henderson is focusing on commonsense education legislation and narrowing employment and wage gaps for residents.

  • Commonsense School Transparency and Accountability Act of 2023 - This legislation would do four things: require local education agencies (LEAs) notify families or caregivers of students with disabilities within 5 days of a staff person’s transition; document and notify families or caregivers of incidents of physical injury within 1 hour of the incident; require LEAs to install carbon monoxide detectors; and require schools provide annual dental and vision exams to students.
  • Fair Wage Amendment Act of 2023 - This reintroduced bill would prohibit employers from asking a potential employee abut salary history until after a job offer has been made. Additionally, employers would be required to post related workplace notices to inform employees of their rights.

                                                                                                                                              Performance Oversight Updates

Performance Oversight season is in full swing. There are hearings taking place daily. To see the full schedule and to find Committee instructions on how to testify, click here.  

The Committee on Health has been busy and has met multiple times since our last update:

  • February 9th- United Medical Center Performance Oversight Hearing: The Committee held a performance oversight hearing on February 9th. We had a robust conversation with UMC leadership, including Angell Jacobs, Chair of the UMC Fiscal Management Board, and Jacqueline Payne-Borden, UMC Chief Executive Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, regarding the hospital’s operations, budget, and plan for closure in early 2025 once the new Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center in Ward 8 opens its doors.
  • February 9th- Department of Behavioral Health Performance Oversight Hearing: The Committee held performance oversight hearings on February 1 for public witnesses and February 9th for government witnesses. Public witnesses included students, community-based providers, and advocates. We had a dynamic discussion with Dr. Bazron and the team. During both hearings, we covered a range of topics including the shortage of mental and behavioral health professionals, the Community Response Teams (CRTs), the opioid crisis, and the School Based Behavioral Health Program.
  • February 16th- Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services: Deputy Mayor Turnage spoke about the processes involved in closing the encampments for the unhoused throughout the city. Public witnesses expressed concern over the lack of housing and case management support for the unhoused.
  • February 16th- Department of Healthcare Finance: Director Turnage discussed the cross-agency collaboration to combat the over 400 opioid deaths in DC, which is disproportionately taking the lives of Black men over the age of 40. Opioid abuse and overdoses have reached pandemic numbers and Councilmember Henderson has prioritized additional strategizing and funding for the city to tackle this crisis.


  Upcoming Hearings for the Committee on Health

Here is a list of upcoming hearing for the Committee on Health. If you would like to testify, feel free to sign-up using this link: Please note we require all witnesses to sign-up at least 2 business day before the hearing, so we can ensure proper accommodations if necessary. We also accept written and voicemail testimony as part of the official record. The record closes 10 days after each hearing. Written statements can be sent to Voicemail testimony can be sent to (202)430-6046.

  • February 28th at 2pm: Boards of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Psychology, and Social Work
  • March 2nd at 9:30am: Department of Health (DC Health)

Budget Oversight hearings will begin on March 30th.

Performance oversight time has taught Team Henderson so much about the DC government agencies that we oversee. Here are some interesting facts that came out during some hearings:

Did You Know?

  • Department of Motor Vehicles­ - Since the DMV has reincorporated parallel parking in its road test, the failure rate has increased by 10%.
  • Department of Behavioral Health - DBH’s four DC Prevention Centers are central to the agency’s child and youth substance use disorder prevention services. In FY22, these centers served a total of 6,266 individuals aged 24 and younger.
  • Department of Public Works - Impounded vehicles that remain unclaimed after 28 days following notification are sold at public auction online at or get scrapped. There are lots of other things for sale, too!

                                                                                                                            Christina in the Community

Howard University Hospital Last week, Councilmember Henderson visited Howard University Hospital. During the visit, she learned about the plans for the new hospital and its location, as well as the innovative research taking place throughout the medical campus.

School Within a School at Goding Last week, Councilmember Henderson also had the privilege of visiting Mr. Bonhomme’s 3rd grade class. Students are learning about how local government works. They were very knowledgeable and inquisitive. A few students even had great ideas about what changes should be made in the city, as well as a convincing argument for a shopping mall on H Street NE.

                                                                                                                                             In Case You Missed It

A New DC Bill Could Require Insurance Companies to Cover Fertility Treatments. Washingtonian Magazine’s Keely Bastow spoke to Councilmember Henderson regarding her Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2023.

                                                                                                                                          Constituent Service Corner

  • President's Day in Black Georgetown: Presidential Connection Tour Join Black Georgetown for a libation ceremony to honor ancestors and a walk-about tour highlighting their Underground Railroad and Presidential connections on Monday, February 20th from 10am-noon. Location: Mt. Zion-Female Union Band Society Cemetery (2501 Mill Rd NW, Washington DC 20007). Learn more and sign up for free tickets here.
  • Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program application opened January 30th, 2023, at noon. The application deadline is February 28th, 2023. To learn more and apply, click here.
  • The MySchool DC application for PK3-8th Graders closes on March 1st, 2023. Lottery results will be available beginning March 31st, 2023. For more information, including instructions on how to use the database, click here.
  • Holiday Tree collection is occurring through March 3rd, 2023. Trees and greenery can be placed curbside if you receive DPW trash and recycling collection services. After March 3rd, composting is not guaranteed for trees and greenery because they are then collected with residential trash. Read more here.
  • Have a constituent service need related to the Health Committee, or any of the other agencies in DC Government? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Constituent Services Director, Ana Berríos-Vázquez, during regular business hours (9:00am - 5:30pm) at 202-724-8105, or

Stay Connected

Thank you for reading! Please stay in touch.

Christina Henderson
At-Large Councilmember

Mike Shaffer
Chief of Staff

Heather Edelman
Deputy Chief of Staff

Gabrielle Rogoff
Legislative Director

Ana Berríos-Vázquez
Constituent Services Director

Nicholas Pcholkin
Legislative Assistant

Chantal Fuller
Communications Director

Health Committee

Ona Balkus
Committee Director

Marcia Huff
Senior Policy Advisor

Ashley Strange
Legislative Assistant

Councilmember At-Large Christina Henderson

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 402
Washington, D.C. 20004