Volume 30 | January 2020
  Stay Connected with Me
Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dear neighbor,

It has been over 55 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic speech in 1963, here in the District, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom . His name remains synonymous with peace, unity, and social equality. His voice still echoes as a beacon of social justice for our nation.

Dr. King encouraged diverse communities to live together in a spirit of love, understanding, and service to one another. I take inspiration from and recognize the power of Dr. King's social justice movement. Without the work and sacrifice of Dr. King and other leaders of the civil rights movement, many Americans would not have the freedoms that we enjoy. 
I encourage each of us to take time out to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and how we can do more to bring equality and compassion toward others.
To help remember Dr. King's legacy, I ask you to join me as we walk in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Parade on Monday, January 20th . If you would like to walk with us, email astrickland@dccouncil.us or call 202-286-9611 to let us know you’re coming.
Back in the Wilson Building, I recently chaired a public hearing on my bill, Renewable Energy Future Act, which will build on the District’s efforts to combat climate change and push the District government to use its own properties for energy production through solar panels and small wind turbines.

Last month, I also continued to fight for the safety of our children's playgrounds. Concerned about high lead levels in DC’s playground surfaces, ten of my colleagues and I sent a letter to the Mayor asking that she take a series of urgent steps to test more public playgrounds for lead and identify the source of lead so we can immediately make any necessary changes. This month, the City Administrator’s staff responded, but ignored the requests of the Council and committed to no new action to address this urgent risk.

The City Administrator’s Office suggests the Department of General Services (DGS) has “confirmation about the sources of lead” and that the results have been made available to the Council. In fact, DGS has neither released the actual lead levels on public playgrounds nor confirmed the absence of lead in synthetic playground surfaces. Instead, DGS has only released a summary that lists where lead levels have been deemed “actionable.” DGS committed to providing the Council with more specific test results at the beginning of 2020, but has not yet done so.

DGS has also refused to complete lead testing of all District playgrounds, in effect concealing the scope of lead contamination. The Mayor’s continued failure to complete testing and to provide transparent results undermines the trust of District families and puts all of our children at risk. I will continue to advocate for safer playgrounds for our children.
I released my 2019 Annual Report to update you on legislation and budget achievements that directly impact District residents. The most important thing we’ve done is bring more people to the table to help solve the urgent issues our city faces. As Chair of the Committee on Facilities and Procurement, I funded programs to help keep senior citizens in the District, strengthen schools, increase the amount of affordable housing units, and ease the road home for our returning citizens.
Every year we change the outreach focus for our office, and in 2019 we met with seniors at wellness centers and senior homes. It is important to us that we connect with residents who are not able to come down to the Wilson Building. Many of those meetings resulted in information that we were able to use to write legislation and conduct oversight.
I am honored serve as one of your At-Large Councilmembers. My commitment to improving our city and the lives of its residents has only grown stronger. 
The Council will host its Black History Month Celebration at the Wilson Building. We’ll have performances by KIPP College Prep Choir and Blacks in Wax Recreation Wish List Committee founded by Cora Masters Barry, art displayed by students of Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School, and Dr. Sharita Jacobs Thompson will share her research on African-Americans and the vote.
I’m honored that my regional colleagues elected me as Vice Chair of the Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). It was a great privilege to serve as Chair of this great organization last year, and I look forward to continuing to work with my regional colleagues in this new role. “If you want to go far, go together.”

Congratulations to Prince George's County Councilmember, Derrick L. Davis, as he chairs the COG board in 2020.
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