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Dear Neighbor,
The Council of the District of Columbia’s abbreviated summer recess has officially begun. Council recess started August 1st and will end on September 7th.  During the summer recess, all Council hearings, mark-ups, and public roundtables will be suspended. But, we are still working for you Ward 7!  If you are a Ward 7 resident or business in need of assistance, please contact my Constituent Services Director Sedrick Muhammad at (202) 704-9657 | or Deputy Director D.L. Humphrey at (202) 704-4304 |
As some may recall, the Federal Bureau of Prisons recently made an award to CORE DC, LLC to operate a 300-bed residential reentry center in Ward 7 to replace Hope Village in Ward 8.  This week, two community meetings were held to address community concerns and opposition to the 300-bed facility and to provide clarity as to timeline for construction, client programs and services. The first meeting held on Tuesday was for Ward 7 ANCs, civic associations, businesses, and faith leaders. The second meeting was for the general Ward 7 community. The CORE DC representatives who participated were Gordon Jackson, VP of Community Affairs; Keisha Phipps, VP and Chief Administrative Officer; and Carlyle Holder, President.
During these two very important community meetings, CORE DC representatives shared information about daily programming for clients regarding access to health services, education, employment, and housing opportunities.  CORE DC intends to complete construction of this facility in no less than 120 days, but it is unclear when construction will begin.  CORE DC also indicated their intent to hire Ward 7 residents and made a commitment to ongoing communication with the community to solicit input. Soliciting ongoing community input will include the establishment of a Community Advisory Board. 
Although, there is still wide-spread community opposition to a residential reentry center of this size locating in Downtown Ward 7, I will continue to work with Commissioner Holcomb, Cedar Realty Trust and others on furthering the best interests of the entire Ward 7 community.
I am pleased that I was able to work with community leaders in Ward 7 to secure money in the budget for the Pennsylvania Avenue East Main Street Program.
On August 10th, DSLBD will release a Request for Application (RFA) for new DC Main Streets Grants, including our very own new Pennsylvania Avenue East Main Street program to bring commercial revitalization to a long-neglected corridor. 
The grant allocation is $200,000. All new programs designated in FY21 will receive $175,000 to be used for programmatic and operational expenses; the additional $25,000 will be held by DSLBD to provide dedicated training and resources to help the Main Street Programs build a strong foundation.
More specifically, as part of the trainings, the Main Streets board, committees, and the executive director will participate in a series of capacity-building trainings organized by DC Main Streets to help develop a sustainable operating infrastructure, including project management systems and financial control standards.  The training sessions will also include information about using the Main Street Approach.

Recently, appointments  were made to the newly formed District of Columbia Police Reform Commission as the result of an amendment to the “Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Act of 2020” (Bill 23-825), introduced by myself and Councilmember Anita Bonds.

We established the Commission through this act of legislation to examine the best policing practices in the District and provide evidence-based recommendations for reforming and revisioning policing. This includes:
  • Examining the role of special police officers in public schools;
  • Developing alternatives to police approaches and responses such as community-based, behavioral health or social service co-responders;
  • Reviewing police discipline policy and implementation; and
  • Integration of conflict resolution strategies and restorative justice practices into policing.
The Commission will draw on the expertise of its 20 members in looking at and providing recommendations as to best practices regarding police reform in the District. The newly appointed Commissioners are:
  • Robert Bobb, Co-Chair, President & CEO of the Robert Bobb Group; former District Government City Administrator 
  • Christy Lopez, Co-Chair, Professor and Co-Founder/Director of Innovative Policing Program at Georgetown Law
  • Elena Bell, Interim Principal at Takoma Education Campus
  • Robert Bennett, Senior Counsel at Bennett Doyle LLP; former federal prosecutor; and leading member of the defense bar
  • Kent Boese, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner with ANC 1A
  • Samantha Davis, Founder of Black Swan Academy
  • Tina Frundt, Founder & Executive Director of Courtney’s House; national advocate on domestic sex trafficking
  • Herb Gray, Founder & CEO of Life Enhancement Services, a nationally accredited provider of behavioral health services
  • Emily Gunston, Office of the Attorney General and former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section
  • Ronald Hampton, Retired MPD Officer; former Executive Director of National Black Police Association, Inc.
  • LaShunda Hill, juvenile justice reform expert; formerly at Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative and Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Corwin Knight, Founder and CEO of the Hope Foundation Reentry Network
  • George Lambert Jr., President and CEO of the Greater Washington Urban League
  • Jeffrey Richardson, Founder and Principal of Enspired Muse Coaching and Management
  • Naïké Savain, Supervising Attorney for the Children’s Law Center Guardian ad Litem project
  • Sultan Shakir, Executive Director of SMYAL (Support and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders)
  • Mignon Smith, former Assistant Principal at D.C. Prep and math teacher at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart
  • Patrice Sulton, Director of D.C. Justice Lab and Senior Attorney Advisor to the D.C. Criminal Code Reform Commission
  • Kurt Vorndran, a current member the Police Complaints Board 


As you may be aware, the Mayor issued a new order to explain and expand requirements related to wearing masks in public in the District. Additionally, the Bowser Administration issued an order to extend the public emergency for DC until October 9, 2020.  Both orders are now in effect.

Under the new mask order, individuals must wear a mask or face covering when they leave their homes if they are expected to come into contact with another person for more than a brief moment. Exceptions are listed in the Mayor’s Order.  The full order on masks can be found at:
Currently, there are 12,653 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the District, and, tragically, 590 deaths caused by COVID-19. African Americans still account for 75% of COVID-19 deaths in Washington, DC compared to about 46% of population.  Please continue to wear your mask or face covering and practice social distancing while out in public. 
Even though DCPS is starting out with 100% virtual education on August 31st, DC Health reminds residents to not delay needed medical care. In particular, DC Health emphasized that it is important for children to see their healthcare providers for their well-child visit. These well-child visits are essential for many reasons, including:
  • Tracking growth and development including milestones, social behaviors, and learning;
  • Discussing any concerns about your child’s health;
  • Allowing children to attend in-person school when it resumes; and
  • Getting scheduled vaccinations to prevent illnesses like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) and 12 other serious diseases.
Parents can call to schedule an appointment at school-based health centers, including two Ward 7 sites:
  • Woodson High School at 540 55th Street NE, which can be reached by calling (202) 724-2287; and
  • The MedStar/Georgetown Mobile Clinic at Kelly Miller Middle School at 301 49th St NE, which can be reached by calling (202) 444-8888.
The District is providing COVID-19 and antibody testing to all DC residents.  Please go to for a full list of all District and private provider testing sites.  All District of Columbia coronavirus testing can now be done on a walk-up basis, but the District advises residents to pre-register and save time in line by making an appointment online at or by calling the Testing Triage Center at 1 (855) 363-0333 Monday to Friday from 8:30AM to 4:30PM.  Pre-registration is required for antibody testing.
Learn more about additional testing sites and to find a testing site near you.  
Click NOW! For More Information
The District has directed $2.3 million of the District’s Contingency Cash Reserve Fund to initial staffing hires at the DC Coronavirus Contact Trace Force, which is housed at the DC Department of Health (DC Health). DC Health has onboarded 300 contact tracers as part of the Contact Trace Force expansion. Click here for more information. 
There are 13 drive-thru grocery sites in the District where D.C. students and their families can pick up fresh fruits, vegetables, and non-perishable groceries. Groceries are available first-come, first-serve from 12:30PM to 2:00PM. Four of the sites are located in Ward 7 at:

Kelly Miller Middle School (Tuesday)
Woodson High School (Wednesday)
Kimball Elementary School (Thursday)
Bard High School (Thursday)

To get the full schedule visit: and click on the “Food” tab.
Visit this link for more information:
DC Paid Family Leave is here for District workers! Learn how you can plan for tomorrow today at To learn more join our weekly Wellness Wednesday virtual series at 12pm. Register here!
Unfortunately, for some of our residents COVID-19 has caused a reduction in income or unemployment. Here is some information about DC Unemployment Insurance, how to apply. 

Business members of our community have been affected as well but are not without support. For more information and to access the DC COVID-19 Business Inquiry Form, visit: Here are some additional resources. 
Due to the current COVID-19 public health emergency still in place for the District of Columbia, the DC Board of Elections (DCBOE) will no longer have its regular one week of early “in-person voting” nor will it open all of its 144 precinct-based polling places for Election Day voting.  Instead, DCBOE will open and operate no more than 80 polling places on November 3, 2020 for Election Day. To maximize voter convenience, these polling places will serve every registered District voter. Thus, any registered DC voter can cast their vote at any of the 80 polling places throughout the District. The results from the primary election show that in-person voting is heaviest in Wards 7 and 8, followed by Wards 4 and 5. Therefore, DCBOE will open several of its in-person polling places in those respective Wards. The Department of General Services (DGS) has been assigned the task of cleaning polling places before, during, and after early and election day voting. This will be critical for all polling places, but exceptionally so for polling locations that are DC Public Schools (DCPS). 
Early Voting and Super Voting Centers
DCBOE will operate two early voting centers per Ward. They will also operate voting locations that are classified as Super Vote Centers. The Capital One Arena has been offered for use as a Super Voting Center location. These Super Vote Centers will allow the District to process over thousands of voters per location. DCBOE is currently seeking locations in Wards 7 and 8 for use as Super Vote Centers. The Super Vote Centers will operate both as Early Vote Centers and as Election Day polling places.
Election Day Workers & Mail-in Ballots
DCBOE is looking to hire Election Day workers.  Election worker training was scheduled to begin on August 4th and will run through the first week in October. 
Finally, to maximize voter safety, DCBOE will mail a voting ballot to every registered DC voter without their having to request one. Voters will be able to mail these ballots back to the Board postage-free or deposit them in 40-50 secure drop boxes that will be in strategic areas across the District. 

I encourage our Ward 7 residents to vote by mail or vote early in-person. 
On August 3rd, Census Bureau Director Steve Dillingham released a statement on the most recent changes to the 2020 Census operational/data collection plan.
According to the statement, the Census Bureau is now working on completing data collection by September 30th rather than October 31st, as stated in their previous update. All Census offices are now scheduled to complete their work by September 30, 2020.  Therefore, again I encourage you to complete your 2020 Census form by telephone or online today!
Additionally, the Census Bureau is currently soliciting assistance in locating, identifying and retaining training locations, particularly in Wards 7 and 8, which are the most non-responsive areas and where a majority of the Census field workers will be deployed. The locations will be used to onboard the workers, swear them in, complete paperwork and provide them with equipment, and release them to complete training at home.   If you have space to provide or a referral, contact: Eudora Johnson at 202-549-9760 or

The Woody Ward Recreation Center Designation Act of 2019, which I introduced to rename the soon to be modernized Benning Park Recreation Center after Woody Ward, is now official law!

Mr. Ward was a well-known and highly respected member of the Benning Park community who worked at the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation's (DPR) Benning Park Recreation Center in Ward 7 for 26 years. Through years of working at DPR, Mr. Ward helped to raise three generations of youth, positively impacting the lives of young athletes in many District communities as a football, baseball and basketball coach and a father figure.  Known for greeting everyone with a smile and saying “good show” (a confirmation from him that everything was okay), Mr. Ward was revered at Benning Park Recreation Center.  With this naming, I hope to honor his legacy in a lasting, official manner.
The Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens has a photography contest, and they are looking for photos of the Gardens from members of the community!

To view the winning photos and honorable mentions from its 2016-2019 competitions, please check out their website: To participate in their 2020 competition, please review the official rules and instructions and submit your photos to  
There are several categories for the contest this year, with the deadline for Abstracts photographs coming up fast!

Category Submissions Due  
Lotus July 22
Abstracts Aug 22
Plants & Flowers Sept 22
Landscapes Oct 22
Wildlife Nov 22
The Aquatic Gardens are open and in full bloom. Go visit!
More information and the application for this program is available through DOEE at or by contacting  
Stay safe and be well.

In service, 
For any constituent issues, assistance for seniors & families, contact my constituent services team, Sedrick Muhammad at (202) 704-9657 or; D.L. Humphrey at (202) 704-4304 or 

Take a moment to let us know how we're doing!
Click here to complete the Ward 7 Survey: 
Sheila E. Bunn
Chief of Staff

Jordan M. Betters
Staff Assistant/Scheduler

Takiyah "T.N." Tate
Director of Communications

Sedrick Muhammad
Director of Constituent Services

Dexter L. Humphrey
Deputy Director of Constituent Services

Terrance Norflis
Legislative Director

Committee on Health
(202) 727-7774


Eric J. Goulet, J.D.
Committee Director/Senior Counsel

Michelle Loggins
Deputy Committee Director

Malcolm Cameron
Legislative Analyst


Copyright © 2020 Council of the District of Columbia, All rights reserved.
Office of Councilmember Vincent C. Gray 

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