Good early afternoon, DC! Even though this blog is all about Capitol Hill (and surrounding areas), I want to give a heartfelt shoutout to those of you who still consider the Hill to be home, even as you hang your hat elsewhere. What’s up?
I realize many of you are not parents, but for those of us who are, the news that school will be back on August 31, 2020 is a little weird (WUSA). On the one hand, parents of younger children welcome for the main part having their children back at school. But not everyone is so eager, including teachers. How will the schools balance in person and online teaching? Southwest parent and education researcher Betsy Wolf shared statistics, survey results and some very clear and sobering thinking regarding starting school. Find her thread here.
In case you missed it, this Washington Post article exposes the inherent unfairness of parent-teacher organizations where parents have the privilege of making a lot more noise and getting their needs met. Watkins and Peabody principal Elena Bell states the crux of the problem eloquently: “Sometimes, living out the values of equity means you give up something for a greater cause to others who may need it more than you do,” Bell wrote. “Equity is NOT receiving an inequitable resource and doing something nice for ‘families in need’ on the side.” Washington Post
Even though it’ll be a long while before we can all feel comfortable riding metro, WMATA has reopened several stations and added more stops to their busier bus routes. For our area, the 30N, 30S and 92 buses will be running more frequently. You still have to board on the back and must wear a face covering. WTOP
Circle June 26 on your calendar: This is the date of the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote on statehood for the District of Columbia. Can you imagine taxation with full representation? I’m dizzy just thinking about it. DCist
Goodbye to George Preston Marshall’s statue outside of RFK stadium. The statue was removed, appropriately, on Juneteenth. Wondering why it’s important to have Marshall’s statue removed? As owner of the Redskins from their inception, he was an active segregationist. His team was the last one to be integrated, nine years after the rest of the league integrated their teams. ESPN
In a Hill Buzz from February of 2019, I shared an Instagram post by Krystal Mack. In it, she recounted her terrible experiences while employed by Rose’s Restaurant Group. Fast forward to early June, where Rose’s Restaurant group acknowledged that they hadn’t done right by her. (You can see the letter here.) Unfortunately, the apology came 578 days too late and was not issued to Mack directly. Mack recorded an Instagram live video last week in which she adroitly points out what is wrong with a watered-down apology two years too late. It’s so important that you listen. Yes, your favorites are problematic.
Incidentally, this Washingtonian interview of sommelier Erica Christian is a must-read. This quote alone is worth your time: “…there’s this idea that when we stand up for causes, we do it once… But this isn’t a cause. This isn’t like fighting an illness or donating to cancer research. It’s literally making sure that there is space for an existing population that has been disserviced for hundreds of years.”
Ready to march today? There are two marches happening: One starts at 5:30 p.m. at Stanton Park, and its aim is to heighten awareness of the Defund the Police movement. The second one starts at Lincoln Park at 7 p.m. and its in support of Black Lives Matter. Be safe, be respectful, spread the word. (H/t to @immediata on Instagram)
There has been much talk about the Lincoln statue at the eponymous park. Should it come down? Should it stay up? As protesters cut through red tape and take down statues around town (such as Albert Pike’s) or attempt to take them down (would losing Andrew Jackson really be so terrible?), the wagons are starting to circle the Lincoln statue. NBC-4 Frankly, ever since I moved here, I’ve thought the kneeling slave is in poor taste, even if his shackles are broken. Marcus Goodwin, candidate for At-large councilmember, agrees. He has been circulating a petition to take down the statue on Change.org
UPDATE: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton just shared that she’ll introduce legislation to take down the statue.
“You will soon see my bill to remove this problematic statue from Lincoln Park,” Norton said. “Although formerly enslaved Americans paid for this statue to be built in 1876, the design and sculpting process was done without their input, and it shows. The statue fails to note in any way how enslaved African Americans pushed for their own emancipation. Understandably, they were only recently liberated from slavery and were grateful for any recognition of their freedom. However, in his keynote address at the unveiling of this statue, Frederick Douglass also expressed his displeasure with the statue. “Because Lincoln Park is National Park Service (NPS) land, I will work with the NPS to see whether NPS has the authority to remove the statue without an act of Congress, and if so, we will seek its removal without a bill. This statue has been controversial from the start. It is time it was placed in a museum.” The Emancipation Memorial was dedicated on April 14, 1876, the 11th anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination. The statue originally faced the Capitol, with a direct line of vision to the nation’s most powerful building. But when a statue celebrating African American educator Mary McLeod Bethune was erected in the eastern half of Lincoln Park, in 1974, the Emancipation Memorial was rotated 180 degrees so the two statues would face each other.
Parting thought: DCist recently reported that Wards 7 and 8 have been pooling their resources together to care for neighbors and deliver food and run errands for their own. The post includes some resources to help our neighbors across the river. But what if neighbors in other areas of town helped lobby for more grocery options and business options? I recently ran an informal poll via Twitter on the availability of groceries within a one-mile radius, and 74% of my respondents (most of them Hill residents) have access to three or more grocery stores. This is the kind of inequality with which we all seem to be comfortable, but which needs to stop. Wards 7 and 8 have their own character and their legacy, and we need to support them by supporting black entrepreneurs. Among the comments we received, we came across Mary Blackford’s entry for the Build Your Legacy contest. Mary recently started Market 7, a marketplace for black-owned business. If she wins the contest, she will receive $100,000 toward this project. Click here to listen to Mary’s story and vote!