June 28, 2020

Hello Neighbor,
For the past several weeks, I have been working alongside my Council colleagues to respond to changes in residents and the need for racial justice and police reform. I have marched with residents, volunteers, my wife and children, and with you. This is a personal issue for me. We are now in a moment where we have to take long-overdue steps toward racial justice and equality. I want to be clear that the problem of racial justice is not confined to policing, but we all recognized that policing is a vital part of this issue.
We are in a moment of change. We all may not yet agree on the path to change, but I caution us to keep vigilant that we not let anyone divide us in our pursuit of justice and equality. Things are not okay as they are.  
I have shared research with Council colleagues and expressed my desire to ensure that our city budget includes funding to keep residents safe by using non-police responses for calls for service for things like public intoxication, substance abuse, noise complaints, mental health intervention, family disputes, and even children involved in non-violent behavior. Many issues that currently prompt police intervention do not require police presence. We need to rethink how we use our city’s resources to give residents an alternative to calling the cops. This helps us avoid negative police interactions and will protect officers from difficult situations that they are not equipped to handle.
Last Tuesday, the Committee on Facilities and Procurement, which I chair, passed a recommendation for the Budget Support Act to create an all civilian police complaint board for WMATA’s Metro Transit Police. I have been pushing this issue with my Councilmember Charles Allen since I called the hearing last November on policing communities of color.
Every police department should have a civilian review board to examine police complaints. It makes police departments better and builds trust with the people they serve. Following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, countless people from across the country began calling for all police agencies to have a civilian police complaint board similar to what we have in DC for the Metropolitan Police Department.
I anticipate that the Council will approve creating Metro Transit Police civilian police complaint board as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget in July. Because creating a civilian police complaint board requires amending the WMATA interstate compact, Maryland and Virginia must pass similar provisions, and Congress must consent for it to take effect. I am prepared to work with my regional colleagues to get this done as I continue to work with my Council colleagues to make substantial progress on racial equity. 
As our city faces two pandemics, COVID-19, and racial injustice, my committee made critical investments in several key areas. We worked to address the needs of the District’s seniors, returning citizens, LGBTQ community, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, public safety, racial equity, housing, education, environment, and government buildings. The full council is scheduled to hold its first vote on the budget on July 7th. The final vote is July 28th.
I appreciate the work and support of my fellow members of the Committee on Facilities and Procurement. Here are some critical investments we secured in our committee budget markup:
· Invested in returning citizens by funding housing vouchers, a pilot program to connect them with employers who can provide them w a long-term career, extended an outstanding paralegal training program and funded $300,000 to support orgs serving returning citizens.
· Invested in the senior citizens to whom our city owes a debt of gratitude with 20 housing vouchers for low-income seniors to ensure they have stable housing and can age-in-place with dignity.
· Invested in our LGBTQ neighbors to ensure that they have safe and affirming space regardless of age, with $100,000 for a senior community dining program, ten housing vouchers for LGBTQ seniors, and a rent abatement for the DC Center. 
· Strengthened the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, an essential part of our governance with funding for Implicit Bias Training, shared services, and technical support.
· Strengthened public safety by expanding violence prevention with a $200,000 investment in the Cure the Streets Initiative at Office of the Attorney General and advanced a civilian police complaint board for Metro Transit Police.
· Invested in housing with $100,000 for outreach to connect homeless residents with support services. We also funded $200,000 to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which helps residents facing evictions. We also identified over $350,000 for public housing repairs.
· Invested in education by adding $300,000 to the At-Risk student funding.
· Funded $1.4M to the Renewable Energy Future Amendment Act, making DC a leader in combating climate change by helping the District use its properties to produce renewable energy through solar and other renewable energy.
· Invested in the safety of our children by funding $2M for lead abatement at our playgrounds. We also added almost $1.7M to replace and repair roofs, windows, and HVAC systems at District facilities.
Click  here for my full statement and to view my Committee markup.
My family and I have joined many local protests as my wife, and I try to teach our daughters that people are treated differently because of their skin color. We teach them about the importance of equality and the role each of us can play in the fight for social justice and racial justice. While I wish I did not have to pass on to my daughters the tradition of fighting against racism, I have been proud to join so many other families in this fight.
I’m particularly grateful to my friend Jioni Palmer who organized the Fathers for Justice and Equity March and to my friend Kiara Pesante who helped organize the Black Mamas March. As parents who are devoted to justice and to our kids, we need family-friendly ways to join the movement. I am also  thankful to Cheriss May for capturing these moments and to the  New York Times  for highlighting families in protest.
As guests on the  TODAY Show , Christy and I discussed the importance and impact of families participating in protests condemning racial injustice.
Photo 1 by : Cheriss May,
COVID-19 antibody testing is now available to DC residents. This test shows if you have previously been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Call 855-363-0333 for an appointment.

Children 6 and over can also be tested at Children's National Medical Center.

Visit  http://coronavirus.dc.gov/testing  for more info.
It was an honor to receive the Father of the Year award from Fathers of Faith Overcoming Adversity. I am humbled by this award from fathers who have done so much more than I have done.
It was great to catch up with Josh Gibson, Director of Communications for the Council, on his Facebook Live show . We talked about policing, criminal justice reform, and legislation recently introduced at the Council, which includes some of my Restore the Vote provisions to re-establish voting rights to incarcerated DC residents with felony convictions, and budget updates ahead for District residents.
My office is teleworking, but still available to you. Connect with me and my staff via phone or email. Please call my personal office at (202) 724-8174, committee office at (202) 741-8593 or email any of my team members.


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