FREE TICKETS: DC Emancipation Day 150th Anniversary Great Debate

This Saturday is the Emancipation Day 150th Anniversary Great Debate. Held at the historic Lincoln Theatre, the event is a celebration of the freeing of Slaves in Washington, DC. Nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln freed the slaves in Washington DC, making the District home to the first freed slaves.


There will be four panelests, the two confirmed are:

  • Reverend Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Leader/Pastor/Radio & Television host
  • Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown Professor

The event is free and open to the public, but you must register at

This promises to be a fantastic event. Meet me there?


The State of Our Community

Fellow Henson Ridge Residents,

I’m writing this letter directly to you. I left my house last Sunday morning with the intention to take a jog and get some fresh air. It quickly became apparent that I wouldn’t be getting much exercise because the state of our community quickly caught my attention. As I entered Phase I of our neighborhood I noted man hole coverts that were open and filled with trash, exposed drainage pipes on the playground that were broken and battered, trash cans that were uncovered and leaning to reveal their contents, mailboxes that are rusted and eyesores of the community, and unkept lawns and side yards overrun with what my mother called “crab grass.”

The sight was actually quite shocking because I just recently had what I’ll describe as a minor kerfuffle with the rental office about the state of my HOA dues. In my interaction with the office, they noted how the rental office can’t keep up with the lawn care and grounds maintenance if community members don’t pay their HOA dues. Additionally, in a conversation I had with the developer over a year ago, she expressed to me a similar concern in that homeowners (at that time) weren’t paying their dues, and therefore the rental subsidies provided by the District for the rental units were covering the cost of general grounds and community maintenance.

It is with these conversations, and observations in mind that I write this letter to you, my neighbors and fellow residents of Henson Ridge. Is the rental office finally saying, in a covert way, you homeowners that aren’t paying your dues – here – live with unkept lawns, un painted mailboxes and un repaired community amenities.  Has the subsidy that the developer alluded to last year run its course and is the rental office sticking to the letter of the law by way of he who pays, receives? Or is the state of our community a result of general neglect and laziness?

I encourage you, my fellow neighbors and readers of this post, to add comments that outline your thoughts, and concerns if you have them, about the state of our community. I don’t’ know what exactly the motivation is, or how widespread the issue of non-payment of dues is, but I would deffinately like  to know who I take this up with. How do we ensure that our community is kept in the best possible manner? Is the current state of our community a result of a majority of homeowners NOT paying their dues and the coffers have no money in them? Or is the current state of our community a result of sub standard management and follow through on the part of the rental office? I’m interested in your thoughts on the source of the issue….and how to resolve it.

The photos below are of what I saw on my Sunday morning stroll.

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Replace Graffiti with Murals DC!

MuralsDC is seeking sites for consideration for the 2012 summer program. MuralsDC is a partnership between DPW and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. It was created to replace illegal graffiti with artistic works; to revitalize sites within the community and to engage young people in a legal activity that promotes respect for public and private property. A portfolio of past projects can be found at

Your input is requested!

Where should the 2012 MuralsDC program consider putting this years murals? Do you know any artistic youth that could use something to do this summer? The program supplies all tools, supplies and materials. Submit your recommendation for a site today! Sites will be selected and owners notified by May 15, 2012.  Want more information? Reach out directly to MuralsDC at Nancee.Lyons@DC.Gov.

Another Ward 8 Group Home: Valley Ave. SE

Group homes, transitional housing – it seems to have exploded in recent months in Ward 8. I will be the first to confess, I’m not an expert, authority or investigator of such services, but they have been brought to light lately with the Calvary Women’s Shelter in Anacostia, the Ex-Convicts Halfway House, and Candidate Natalie Williams Sit-In scheduled for next week to discuss this very topic.

At last weeks ANC8E meeting the planned group home in the 200 block of Valley Ave. SE. was a topic of discussion. The plans were first brought to the comissions attention on January 7th when the buildings neighbor reached out to me once she learned of the intended use of the property. At the ANC meeting, the owner and the operator of the group home presented their plans with lots of opposition from the community members in attendance. It’s important to note that there were several members of the community in attendance that support the home and the services they provide.

A lenghty, and at times contensious conversation about the home followed Council Chairman Brown’s attendance.

About the space and the project:

+There are two buildings that will have 8 units each to house two children per room.

+ Children will be between the ages of 12-17.

+ The children have mental disabilities and will be under monitor and surveillance 24 hours a day.

+ The children will have transportation to and from school each day, and there will be 2 security guards on site overnight when the daytime specialists leave.

About the neighborhood opposition:

+ They are there by matter of right and plan to open the group home.

+ It was not their intention to not be forthcoming with the community – they just suspiciously never came to an ANC meeting, passed our flyers or otherwise sought to be a “good neighbor” in their entry to the area.

Several members of ANC8E have reached out to various DC offices to determine the requirements, zonin and paperwork that must be in place in order for the home to open. More to follow on what we find out.

I think it is important to note that the general sentiment at the meeting was that we as a community are not against supporting youth and programs that help with the betterment and progression of our neighborhood. However, collectively we feel that this project was not correctly introduced to the community and fear the ramifications of introducing additional social programs to an area already “oversaturated” with such services.

There will be more to follow I’m sure.

MLK Day Parade – Anacostia (VIDEO)

The MLK Day parade came back to Anacostia, SE Washington DC after an eight year hiatus. I have to admit, I was surprised by the number of groups and organizations in the parade and equally as surprised by the turn out. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have been because King day is a monumental event and it deserved the level of participation and activity it recieved. Here is a brief video of the days events. 

O-V-E-R-S-A-T-U-R-A-T-I-O-N Rally Re-Cap

This morning, candidate for Ward 8 City Council Natalie Williams, organized a rally at the site of the proposed Calvary Women’s Shelter at 1217 Good Hope Road. Several people came out for the event and the podium welcomed a mixture of civic association leaders and concerned members of the community. I don’t want to speak for anyone, but my takeaway from it all was that participants are not against social services, but against the “oversaturation” of such services in Ward 8. There was a large map on display at the rally showing at least 10 such sites in the Ward (homeless shelters, rehabilitation facilities and the like). I won’t attempt to re-post them here, but I’ll provide a link if I can find one with all the locations in one place.

I’m glad to see the community come out before dawn on a week day to share their concern for such initiatives. Councilmember Barry has voiced his support for the shelter, but he and Calvary leadership still refuse to have a conversation with the community about the site. More information can be found at (Congress Heights on the Rise). Perhaps the media attention, and turnout from todays event will help them change their minds.

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Lots and lots to do this month – Upcoming activities

Tis the season to socialize and get out and enjoy the year end. The DC Department of Recreation (DPR) has published a list of plenty to do this month across the city. See you around town!

December 7, 2011
Holiday Jingle Bells Senior Luncheon Cruise (Odyssey Cruise)
600 Water Street, SW
Time: 10am – 2pm
Ages: 55 and up
Seniors will enjoy variety of music, a lovely buffet style lunch, live musical show featuring the cruise ship staff while cruising down the Potomac River. For more information, call Jennifer Hamilton at (202) 664-7153.


December 13, 2011
ANC Community Meeting
SE Tennis and Learning Center, 701 Mississippi Avenue, SE
Time: 2pm – 5pm
All Ages
ANC Community Meeting. For more information, call Jeri Ingram at (202) 645-6242,

December 14, 2011
Sew and Know Christmas Bazaar at the Wilson Building
Pepco Edison Place Art Gallery, 702 8th Street
12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
All Ages
Sew and Know Christmas Bazaar at the Pepco Edison Place Art Gallery. For more information, call Jeri Ingram at (202) 645-6242.

December 15, 2011
SETLC Christmas Party
Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, 701 Mississippi Avenue, SE
Time: 6pm – 10pm
All Ages
For more information, call Jeri Ingram at (202) 645-6242.

December 17, 2011
Dream Girls Mentoring Program
SE Tennis and Learning Center, 701 Mississippi Avenue, SE
Time: 9am – 3pm
Ages: 6 -12
Dream Girls Mentoring Program. For more information, call Jeri Ingram (202) 645-6242 .


November 28th – December 22nd, 2011
Annual Coat Drive
Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street, NW
Time: 9:30am – 9pm
All Ages
Staff will collect winter coats from the community for needy individuals. For more information, call (202) 727-7736.

December 7, 2011
Christmas Party / Fashion Show
North Michigan Park Recreation Center, 1333 Emerson Street, NE
Time: 7pm – 9pm
All Ages
The community will come together in a fun filled atmosphere to enjoy a Christmas party & fasion show. Christmas carols will be sung while enjoying the spirit of the holiday season. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Joseph Clark, Site Manager at (202) 541-3522.

December 9, 2011
Cinema Cafe
Harry Thomas Sr. Community Service Center, 1743 Lincoln Road, NE
Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Ages: 12 – 18
The teens of Harry Thomas will watch a movie and discuss how the movie relate to there life. For more information, call Tameka Borges, Recreation Specialist at (202) 576-6404/5642.

December 10, 2011
Picture with Santa
Stead Recreation Center, 1625 P Street, NW
Time: 12pm – 2pm
Ages: 12 and under
Participants will be able to take a picture with Santa and enjoy refreshments. For more information, call Vincent E. Hill at (202) 673-4465.

December 10, 2011
Kwanza Celebration
Brentwood Recreation Center, 2311 14th Street, NE
Time: 10am – 2pm
All Ages
The community will have an opportunity to learn about the meeting of the holiday; along with food, prizes, and music. For more information, call Lorenzo Carter, Site Manager at (202) 576-6667.

December 11, 2011
Craft Exhibit
Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street, NW
Time: 11am – 4pm
All Ages
Guy Mason Instructors and students will exhibit the works they made in their classes.

December 13, 2011
Annual Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting Ceremony
Chevy Chase Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Avenue, NW
All Ages
Time: 7am – 9pm
Chevy Chase Community Center Annual holiday open house will highlight music, dance, juggling performances and so much more! The community will also come together and bring an ornament to decorate the Ward 3 Community holiday tree. There will be carolers singing and hot chocolate served. For more information, call Ralph Wright (202) 282-2204.

December 15, 2011
Santa’s Secret Gift Shop
Joseph Cole Recreation Center, 1299 Neal Street, NE
Time: 5pm – 6:30pm
Ages: 12 and under
The participants will pick out a gift for an adult in their household and enjoy light refreshments. For more information, call Zenobia Moton at (200 442-9262.

December 15, 2011
Holiday Celebration and Secret Santa Gift Exchange
Therapeutic Recreation Center, 3030 G Street, SE
Time: 11am – 2pm
Ages: Adults with Special Needs
Individuals will celebrate the holiday season with music, dancing, gift exchange and Pot Luck Luncheon. For more information, call Priscilla Jones, CTRS at (202) 698-1794.

December 16, 2011
2nd Annual Holiday Celebration, Variety Show and Awards Ceremony
Fort Davis Recreation Center 1400 41st street SE
Time: 6:30pm – 8pm
All Ages
Youth will receive awards for the various programs and activities in which they have participated, and will star in a variety show (singing, dancing, poems) for their parents and community residents. For more information, call Elijah Fagan, Site Manager at (202) 645-9212.

December 16, 2011
Holiday Crafts
Volta Park Recreation Center, 3400 Volta Place, NW
Time: 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Ages: 4 – 12
Participants will construct and design a varriety of holiday crafts of their likeing.Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Shirley Debrow at (202) 645-5668.

December 16, 2011
Kennedy’s Winter Wonderland
Kennedy Recreation Center, 1401 7th Street, NW
Time: 6pm – 8pm
Kennedy’s Recreation Staff will bring youth from the surrounding community together to celebrate a day of giving. Joy and laughter fill the air as children take pictures with Santa. Food will be served. For more information, call Rochelle Bradshaw at (202) 671-4794.

December 17, 2011
Deanwood Children Christmas Party
Deanwood Recreation Center, 1350 49th Street, NE
Time: 12pm – 3pm
Ages: 15 and under
Children will participate in Christmas tree decorating, picture with Santa, fun family games, food and more. Each participant will receive a gift. For more information, call Orvin Wright at (202) 671-3077.

December 19, 2011
After School Access Christmas Party Card Making to deliver to the Washington Senior Home
Macomb Recreation Center, 3409 Macomb Street, NW
Time: 5pm – 6:30pm
Ages: 6-12
Afternoon Access Program participants will make holiday cards for display and deliver to the Washington Senior Home. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call Cleveland Dent (202) 282-2199.

December 21, 2011
Celebrating You and Me Holiday Crafts Trimming Our Community Tree
Kalorama Recreation Center, 1875 Columbia Road, NW
Time: 6pm – 8pm
The Staff in conjunction with the Funds of Kalorama and the community will come together in celebration of the Holiday Season. For more information, call John Borges at (202) 673-7606.

December 21, 2011
Holiday Crafts & Trim a tree
Kalorama Recreation Center, 1875-Columbia Road, NW
Time: 6pm – 8pm
All Ages
The Kalorama community will come together and decorate the Christmas tree and sing Holiday songs. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call John Borges, Site Manager at (202) 673-7606.

December 21, 2011
Picture with Santa
Brentwood Recreation Center, 2311 14th Street, NE
Time: 6pm – 8pm
All Ages
The children of Brentwood will have an opportunity to take a picture with Santa, play games, and receive light refreshments. For more information, call Lorenzo Carter, Site Manager at (202) 576-6667.

December 21,2011
Toy give away to hospital for the sick
Children’s National Medical Center, N.W.
Time: 11am – 3pm
All Ages
Douglass; Ft.Stanton; Ft.Greble jazzy girls will provide toys to the kids at the National Medical Center. For more information, call Barbara Jones, Margie Robinson, Val Arnold at (202) 645-3980.

December 21, 2011
Arts & Craft Christmas Jamboree
Rosedale Recreation Center (Gibbs Elem. School), 500 19th Street, NE
Time: 6:30pm – 8pm
All Ages
Staff and youth will create Christmas ornaments including decorations. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Brian Williams, Site Manager at (202) 258-6149.

December 21, 2011
Holiday Crafts
Marie Reed Recreation Center, 2200 Champlain St. NW
Time: 4pm – 6pm
All Ages
Participants will come together to make Christmas Cards, and view Christmas Tree at Kalorama at 7pm. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Julia Joel, Acting Site Manager at (202) 673-7768.

December 21, 2011
Christmas Dinner & Gift Exchange
Watkins Recreation Center, 420 12th Street, SE
Time: 5pm – 8pm
Ages: 13 and under
In celebration of the Christmas, kids will enjoy dance contest and food will be served. For more information, call Brian Cobbs at (202) 724-4468.

December 23, 2011
Holiday Community Service giving
Hamilton Recreation Center, 1340 Hamilton Street, NW
Time: 12:30pm – 6:30pm
Ages: 6 – 18
Participants will spread holiday cheer by passing out baskets to needy families in the community. For more information, call Nadine Bell, Recreation Specialist at (202) 541-1299.

December 29, 2011
Just G.I.R.L.S. Holiday Fun on Ice
Silver Spring Ice Skating at Veterans Plaza, 8523 Fenton Street Silver Spring, MD 20910
Time: 1pm – 6pm
Ages: 6 – 18
The Girls of Wards 5 & 6 will enjoy a day of fun on the ice and socialize with their peers and coordinators at a restaurant. For more information, call Tameka Borges, Ward Coordinator at (202) 576-6404/5642.

For information on DPR programs and events visit the website, DPR.DC.GOV, or follow DPR on Twitter, @DCDPR.