Volume 23 | April 2019
  Stay Connected with Me

Photo Credit:
Tyler Palmer
Hello neighbor,
This month, I was reminded of how precious and endangered DC’s culture is. Shaw’s Metro PCS store, on 7th Street NW, has been playing Go-go music from their outdoor speakers for almost 25 years. The community launched the #DontMuteDC campaign after a complaint from a new neighbor forced the store to turn off the music. I grew up listening to Go-go music, and now I am raising a sixth-generation family of Washingtonians. So, a threat to the fabric of my city struck a chord with me, especially since we have lost many other aspects of DC culture.

DC residents showed up and proved how much strength everyday residents have when they were able to get their message to T-Mobile CEO, John Legere, who supported turning the music back on. My hope is that this people-led movement inspires our residents to use their voices on housing, schools, and the many other urgent issues we need to fight for. This movement also served as a reminder: when we come together to advocate, we win.

DC also has a deep, rich Jazz tradition. That's why I was excited to introduce a ceremonial resolution declaring April 2019 as “Jazz Appreciation Month” and April 30, 2019, as “International Jazz Day” in the District to celebrate Jazz music and its influence on people and cultures around the world. This comes at a time when I am working to protect funding for my Performing Arts Promotion Amendment Act, which gives finan cial incentives to restaurants and other small businesses that open their spaces to live music.
This month, I introduced three key bills to protect and empower residents.

  • The Advisory Neighborhood Commissions Participation in Planning Amendment Act of 2019 would strengthen the voices of our ANCs by applying the “great weight” standard for their input in the Comprehensive Plan before the Mayor sends it to the Council. Our elected ANCs represent the neighborhoods impacted by the Comprehensive Plan and need a way to fully represent the voices of their contituents.

  • The Financial Literacy Education in Schools Amendment Act of 2019 creates financial literacy courses for 11th and 12th-grade students to teach them about personal finance matters, like budgeting, credit, saving, and investing. This would be a pilot program that I hope can spread to all DC public high schools.

  • The Shared Services to Improve Housing Counseling Act of 2019 creates centralized support to the small non-profits we fund to help residents find or stay in affordable housing. It will allow these organizations to focus their limited resources on residents instead of employee training, onboarding, and other personnel needs.
Finally, Councilmembers Elissa Silverman, Charles Allen, and I hosted the 12th semi-annual career fair at Arena Stage this month. Employers hired over 50 people on-site, and many of the job-seekers left with interview and work attire. The Department of Employment Services was on-hand to print resumes.

As you know, one of my priorities is meeting the needs of our returning citizen community. One of my responsibilities as Chair of the Committee on Facilities and Procurement is oversight of the Office on Returning Citizen Affairs and the Commission on Re-Entry and Returning Citizen Affairs. In March, I wrote a letter to Mayor Bowser asking her administration to allow returning citizens newly released from federal facilities to have access to housing and employment assistance, educational opportunities, and access to mental health services at the new READY (Resources to Empower and Develop You) Center. I was excited that Mayor Bowser agreed and will now allow all returning citizens to use the READY Center. For more details on the center, click here .

Today, the Committee on Facilities and Procurement released our report identifying how we believe we should prioritize the budgets for the agencies under my jurisdiction. After listening to many hours of testimonies from residents and agency directors, I am working to reign in unnecessary spending on some projects and accelerate others. We must always remember that the money we spend comes from District residents and we must spend it in their best interest.
April 2019

I really had a good time balling for a good cause at the  Manpower-DC " Votes Up - Guns Down"  celebrity basketball tournament. Shoutout to all the men and women who came out to play. And for the record, if anybody asks, I scored 100 points!

The DC Senior Advisory Coalition stopped by my office with their fiscal year 2020 budget concerns. It was great spending time with them, and I hope they enjoyed their 2019 Senior Advocacy Day at the Wilson Building.

As part of my senior outreach, I joined the women of the Capital City Chapter of  The Links, Incorporated  at their 36th Annual Alice Bowie Coleman Senior Luncheon. This wonderful event honors the senior citizens in our community who work hard to make the District the great city it is today.
I wrapped up Women’s History Month at an amazing brunch with The Women Involved in Reentry Efforts (The WIRE) .

Since their reentry back to our community, these women have dedicated their time to help and uplift our neighbors. Their brunch benefited the TraRon Center, which offers children therapy services, mentoring, and after-school care.

I spoke at The National Cannabis Festival about the importance of local control over DC’s laws, over-incarceration of residents for low-level crimes, like marijuana possession, and my work on racial equity in the marijuana industry. ‬It was also great to see one of my favorite bands perform live - Backyard Band. I've been a fan since I was just a kid.

This month, I joined Bruce Johnson in-studio at WUSA-9, and Director Polly Donaldson, of the Department of Housing and Community Development, to discuss how gentrification is impacting District residents.

I attended the Full Democracy Breakfast hosted by Mayor Muriel Bowser in celebration of DC Emancipation Day. Thank you to Tonya Bell Spry, Chapter Committee Chair of Alpha Kappa Alpha, XI Zeta Omega Chapter; Michael Matthews, Vice President of Alpha Phi Alpha, Omicron Lambda Alpha Chapter; Kimberly Ford, President of Jack and Jill's Washington, DC Chapter; and Kevin Judd, Former President of the National Bar Association and the Washington Bar Association for joining my table.
I chaired the  Metropolitan Washington Council of G overnments meeting on strategies to address the housing shortage in the Washington Metropolitan area.

We need to take a regional approach on this issue to ensure each jurisdiction is not only producing enough housing, but also meeting the housing needs of current residents and our growing population.‬
The Committee of the Whole and the Committee on Education held budget oversight hearings for  DC Public Schools and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education . I can’t tell you how proud I was as a resident to see parents running in and out of the building all day to make sure they could balance work and advocating for our schools.

I applaud the initial investments of $19 million to support access to high-quality early childhood education, but I believe we need a strong plan to make early childhood education available and affordable for all families.

Earlier this month, EmpowerEd  honored teachers at its Spring Benefit. I spoke about the importance of diversity, equity in education, budget transparency, and EmpowerEd’s work to ensure teachers' voices are heard.

I was excited to join  Target  for its grand opening of the new Cleveland Park location - and even more excited about the 110 jobs it's bringing to the District.

I was proud to present the Morocco Day Recognition Resolution of 2019 to celebrate thousands of Moroccan and Moroccan-American residents who live, work, study, and do business in the District.
I hope you enjoyed this month's edition of my newsletter. If you have any questions or need to bring an issue to my attention, please call my office at (202) 724-8174 or reach out to my team.


My best,

Robert C. White, Jr. Councilmember, At-Large | Council of the District of Columbia
Phone: (202) 724-8174 | Fax: (202) 727-8210 |   www.RobertWhiteAtLarge.com