Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wine & Silent Auction

Boo Bash - Party with a Cause

My friend from University of Maryland is the founder of Words, Beats, and Life.  Please come out, support, and party for the cause.

To see someone their work in Ward 7, check out the Welcome to Deanwood mural at 4748 Sherriff Road NE.

AYA Community Market & Wellness Fair

Aya Community Markets is a farmers market and holistic health experience founded by Dreaming Out Loud, Inc. On Saturday August 29th we will be partnering with the Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) for a special Health and Wellness Fair at Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church (3000 Pennsylvania Avenue SE).

Features of the Day:
- fresh local produce, handmade crafts and natural body products

- health screenings (blood pressure, visual acuity, body mass index, and others provided by DC Health Department’s Mobile Health Vans)

- a walking audit of the community; there’s a description below (click the link to signup:

- live cooking/raw foods demonstration

- health activity demonstration

- SNAP benefit signup and outreach

Schedule of Events:
11am – Market Opens

11:30am-1:00pm – First Walking Audit Group Tour

1:00pm – Live Cooking Demonstration

1:30pm-3:00pm – Second Walking Audit Group Tour

3:00pm – Health Screenings Conclude

5:00pm – Market Concludes

Help us promote the event on Facebook.

More Info About the Walking Audit:
Click link to signup for the audit:

This walking audit is being designed by Dean Bradford Grant from the Howard School of Architecture and Design, Carlton Eley of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Anthony Delucia from the Built Environment Working Group of the American Public Health Association.

Its purpose is to document and discuss features of the built environment and the streetscape that inhibit or promote healthy lifestyles of its residents. The final 30 minutes of the audit will be back at Aya Community Markets and will include a discussion among participants of what they saw and what they think this means for the health of residents and potential next steps to advocate for needed programs or policies.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yoga is Back!!!

Yoga is back in Hillcrest.  Please come out and support so that we can keep this type of programming at the recreation center.  Grab your mat, towels and bring water.  Classes will be taught by Anacostia Yogi.

Soulful Flow in Hillcrest
Oct. 24- Dec 21, 2011
Mondays, 7pm-8pm
Hillcrest Recreation Center
3100 Denver Ave SE

Harvest Party Saturday October 29th

If you can't make the Peace Fellowship Harvest Festival or just want to party some more, there is the SE White House Harvest Party.

Fun, fun, and more fun… ..for everyone……….
Come and join us the

SE DC Partners
SE White House
2909 Pennsylvania Ave SE
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Saturday, October 29, 2011

Food, games, contest, music, arts and crafts, clowns
Contest for the most creative, cutest, and funniest costume

Harvest Festival Friday October 28th

My church is having a Harvest Festival this Friday.  Ms V will be the hostess with the mostess at the karoke machine.  Come out to celebrate with us.  The entire family is welcome to join us.  We'll have games, face painting, food, and much more.

Harvest Festival
October 28th, 7-9
4339 Hunt Place NE

DC Water Launches First Children’s Water Drop Festival

DC Water Launches First Children’s Water Drop Festival

DC Water is partnering with the District Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Watkins Recreation Center to launch the agency’s first Children’s Water Drop Festival, to engage students about their water supply and the environment.

DC Water, DPR and Watkins Recreation Center will host the Children’s Water Drop Festival, a free environmental education program for students. Through hands-on activities, participating students will explore and learn about water-related issues, the watershed and environmental challenges impacting our waterways.

Friday, October 28 at 3:30 - 6:00 p.m.

Watkins Recreation Center (adjacent to Watkins Elementary School)
420 12th Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

DC Water Community Outreach Team, DC Water’s mascot, Wendy the Waterdrop, Approximately 120 students

Contact: LaDawne White
DC Water
Public Outreach Specialist
(202) 787-2201

Thursday, October 13, 2011

9 years ago today

(photo from

On October 12, 2002 Selena had gone out bowling with her friends and her boyfriend (he was also the father of her child who was 5 months old at the time).  Friends who were with her said she was laughing and smiling.  Selena and her boyfriend returned to his mom's house, but she would never get out of the car.  He shot her in the head then turned the gun on himself.

I met Selena when I was in 7th grade during a track and field clinic.  I got to know her freshman year of high school.  We played on the freshmen basketball team and ran outdoor track together for four seasons.  Senior year we were Co-Captains of the track team.  She always found a way to make me laugh. I remember freshman year we were running outside and it was so cold.  Despite the fact that I was lazy, I also had no desire to run in the cold.  Selena made up a song "It's cold like the crack, but I keep on coming back".  She would chant it over and over while we ran.  That stupid little song made me laugh and kept me going.

Senior year she had this thing where she would respond "1-800..." to everything.  For example, if you said something stupid she would say "1-800-NOT-FUNNY".  In addition to making me laugh, she was good for getting me in trouble.  We got sent home from Penn Relays Senior year and almost stripped of our Co-Captain titles.  Oh Selena....  I never got to say goodbye or tell her how much I appreciated her friendship.

I'll never forget October 13th.  I was in the car driving from grad school in NY to visit my sister in MD.  I was running my mouth on the phone with a friend and my call waiting kept going off.  It was seriously like 5 or 6 people from my hometown calling me back to back.  I knew something was wrong.  The next call that came in was Autumn, so I took the call.  Her exact words "He shot Selena in the head.  She's....."  Then it was silent for what seemed like an eternity.  Autumn broke into a cry.  She never finished the sentence.  When I got the call I was a few miles south of Wilkes-Barre, PA.  I really don't remember driving the rest of the way to MD.  I was on autopilot while fighting tears the entire ride.

After a few days with my sister in MD, I drove to NJ for the wake.  I walked into the funeral home to where she was laying.  Selena always wore her hair in a ponytail or bun, but they had her hair down to cover the bullet wounds.  I remember saying through the cries "Selena would never wear her hair like that." Next to the casket was a collage of photos.  There was one of us from basketball.  That would be the last time I would ever lay eyes on my friend.

Ms V doesn't get too personal on this blog.  However it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and if my personal story saves a life then it's worth it.  If you are being abused, know someone who is being abused or who is abusive, please contact the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence to get help. There information is below:

DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
5 Thomas Circle, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 299-1181

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No... I'm really not white

In the last few years social media has become the new interface for people to interact.  Conversations that would normally occur over coffee or over AIM chat (wow do people still use AIM??) now happen in a public forum.  There are those that don't understand the usefulness of twitter.  One thing I really like about twitter is has allowed me to engage with people from all over DC that I would not know otherwise.  The downside to twitter is that people can select one tweet out of context and let their imaginations run wild.

Ms V is very conscience of the fact that everything put into the twitterverse, this blog, or anything in the public realm is up for grabs to be quoted, emailed, retweeted, facebook,  and even misinterpreted.  So since I have followers who love to analyze my tweets, Ms V wants to clarify a tweet.

I was waiting at the bus stop for the circulator and bumped into a neighbor from Fairfax Village.  I told him I was waiting for the circulator to which the following exchange happened, which I then tweeted (tweeted version below hence the incomplete sentences)

Neighbor: you know why they put the Circulator over here right? It's for the white people
Me: NO. Don't even tell that lie. It's here b/c vocal EOTR residents demanded it. Route isn't perfect, but we have one.
My followers latched onto what my neighbor said because of course there is a theme of dog parks, cupcakes, bike lanes, and circulators are for white people.   The joke for a few more tweets was that I clearly must be white since I ride the circulator, use bike share, eat organic food, have a MacBook, etc.  I even played along and said "I AM white".  Well in case it isn't painfully obvious, I am actually black. *GASP*.  It was a facetious twitter conversation.

So let us all take a deep breath and not take ourselves too seriously on twitter.

On a related note: my black neighbors in Fairfax Village want dog parks, places to buy organic food, circulator, and other amenities that other parts of the city enjoy. Congress Heights on the Rise had a great post about the need for a dog park East of the River.  The 375 members of Black Women Bike DC will tell you they'd like to see more bike lanes and infrastructure in the minority communities that still lack them.  Just sayin.... 

Monday, October 10, 2011

ReCreate: H20 Exibition

Disclaimer: Ms V is on the Advisory Committee for the Tubman-Mahan Gallery

Tubman-Mahan Gallery Celebrates one-year anniversary with ReCreate: H2O exhibition
October 10, 2011—Join The Center for Green Urbanism Tubman-Mahan Gallery for the second ReCreate exhibition focused this year on water –sustainability of our lives locally and globally. ReCreate: H2O will take place at The Center for Green Urbanism Tubman-Mahan Gallery, 3938 Benning Road, NE, Washington, DC, October 10 – November 11, 2011 
The exhibit, ReCreate: H2O recognizes the important role water plays in our lives, encompassing social, economic, cultural, and environmental issues. Artists interpreted the water theme by reflecting on its role individually and on a global scale and how they would recreate their world to make it better. 
ReCreate: H2O will begin the celebration at the Opening Reception on Friday, October 14, 2011, 6:30-8:30pm at The Center for Green Urbanism, in Washington, DC’s Ward 7. The event will feature music by East of the River Boys and Girls Steelband and light refreshments.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Circulator brought to you by DDOT & the Community.

Every now and there there is an email that comes across the community listservs that must be shared, with the permission of the author, of course.  Before I share the email, let me set the stage....

Our story starts on a cold and winter morning several community advocates representing all corners of the ward met to discuss a circulator route that would serve and connect Wards 7 and 8.  Those individuals were Robin Marlin, Greg Stewart, Ralph Chittams, Kristal Wortham, and Chris Jerry.   These individuals were then joined by Kelsi Bracmort and I.  We attended Circulator meeting after meeting after meeting with a consistent message of 1) we want a circulator route and 2) this is the route that we want.

After it seemed like we weren't getting anywhere, Kelsi and I shared the message with a larger audience on Greater Greater Washington. For the last year all the aforementioned individuals joined by another Ward 7 transportation advocate, Neha Bhat, continued to fight and lobby.  At the Ward 7 Transportation Summit & Listening Tour, the group shared the message with then Chair of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, Councilmember Wells.  In addition we shared the message with the current Committee Chair, Mary Cheh.

Even though Ward 7 advocates aren't happy with the final route, we've all pledged to do our part to ensure its success.... BUT... fast forward to October 3rd....

On Monday October 3rd, Circulator service started with a grand opening and inaugural ride.  A community member noted that transportation advocates, such as Chris Jerry, were noticeable absent from the event.  The long and short is none of the people involved knew about it.

Chris' email is below in response to Ms. Jeri Washington's public acknowledgement of Robin, Ralph, Greg, and Chris.

Thanks for the props Jeri. I was just one voice.

I too also want to thank Veronica, Kelsi, and Neha, for all their efforts. Also thanks to Butch Hopkins, James Bunn, and Dionne Brown, to name a few, and others whom I don't know of, from Ward 8, who also have worked many hours to see a East of the River route get started. 
Last, but not least, CM Tommy Wells when he got on Transportation committee, that sped up a Circulator route to come on this side of the Anacostia. The route as is now, is not what most of us fact I am not sure anyone is totally in love with the route, but it is a start. We need connectivity between 7 & 8, we already have several Metrobus and Metrorail routes to get us east and west of the Anacostia. 
I wouldn't be me if I didn't on occasion get my digs in, and so to that end, as I mention Tommy Wells, it is interesting to hear and read about our east of the river politicians who now almost break their arms to pat themselves on the back for "bringing a Circulator route east of the river". I can remember 2 1/2 years ago when Robin Marlin, Greg Stewart, Ralph Chittams, Kristal Wortham, and myself, met on a snowy Saturday morning at 10am at the Francis Gregory Library to have our first grassroots meeting of our Ward 7 ad hoc efforts to get a Circulator East of the River. That same day both Kwame Brown and Yvette Alexander made comments over at the Hillcrest [Rec] that were NOT in support of a Circulator on this side of the Anacostia. Council Chair Gray, said he didn't see anyone riding it and so he didn't know why anyone wanted it over here. I am not an insider, so perhaps there was something going on politically behind doors that I didn't know, but what I do know, based on conversations on the record and off the record, that our east of the river politicians were NOT on the bandwagon to get a route on this side of the river. 
And that all may have been true at various times... 
So to those politicians, please move on....and don't take any more credit for something that I truly believe is from a lot of meetings and testimony of grassroots citizens who kept urging.  If you want credit for Circulator related stuff from this point forward, find money to make it a reality where the Circulator truly circulates people between business and retail locations between Ward 7 and Ward 8. Find a way to use the Circulator to connect "downtown Ward 7" (Benning and Minnesota) with "downtown Ward 8" (Good Hope and MLK) with a stop half way between the two places at the busiest DC government service center East of the River, the DMV at Penn Branch Shopping Center. 
To quote CM Marion Barry at last nights Ward 8 public re-districting meeting, When Tommy Wells told him he was happy that people in Ward 7 and 8 can now use the Circulator to come to Ward 6 and shop at Harris Teeter, Barry said he told Wells, "No we need folks in 6 to come to 8 to shop and do business east of the river" 
Christopher Jerry
Vice President, Fairlawn Citizens Association
Transportation and Publicity Committees

*emphasis added. To that end, I echo Chris' sentiment.  Transportation advocates in both Wards 7 & 8 want a north to south route.  Please find the funding.

Mayor Gray is offering free scholarships to Rail~Volution

Mayor Gray is offering 1-day scholarships to DC residents and community leaders who are interested in attending Rail~Volution.  To apply, click here.

Rail~Volution is coming to DC October 16-19th.  The conference focuses on building livable communities.  As you know many of us in Ward 7 have been lobbying for better bus service on existing lines and creating bus service that better connects is intra-ward and to Ward 8.  This is a great event to learn what other communities around the country are doing to improve mobility.

SHAMELESS PROMOTION in 3...2....1.... Ms V is on a panel on October 19th.  I'll be wearing two hats: community advocate and practitioner.

Community Outreach Strategies for Engaging Diverse Stakeholders CM 1.5
With public investment in infrastructure growing ever scarcer, public and private agencies need to dig deeper into their communities to ensure all voices are being heard. Investments in transit, bikeways and affordable housing will not be saved by community members who are accustomed to attending public meetings. This session will feature case studies for engaging diverse stakeholders from three large American cities. 
Moderator: Diane Goodwin, Manager of Project Communications, TriMet, Portland, Oregon  
Marla Wilson, Sustainable Development Associate, Greenbelt Alliance, San Francisco, California
Veronica Hahni, Executive Director, Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, Los Angeles, California 
Veronica O. Davis, PE, Transportation Committee Chair, Hillcrest Community Civic Association, Washington, DC

Photos: Hillcrest Wine Tasting & Art Auction

Here are some photos for your visual pleasure. For more photo, click here.

International Walk to School Day was a Success!!!

Events always make Ms V nervous.  I'm glad to report that International Walk to School Day was a success.  National VIPs rolled through the Village.  Children in Hillcrest and Fort Davis were overloaded with goodies.  Ms. V even got a reflective bracelet that says "Be Safe, Be Seen".  I wore it with pride all day.  

For a recap from the committee, go here

For more photos, visit the Hillcrest facebook page.

During Councilmember M. Brown's speech he mentioned to the kids it was domestic violence awareness month.  He had the little boys take a pledge to not hit the girls in their school or their sisters, and respect ladies.  These girls can be just as vicious as the boys, so they should've taken the pledge too.  Nonetheless it was cute.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Little neighborhood, Big Things!!!!

I've been bursting at the seams for the last week trying to hold in the surprise.  But now that DDOT has issued a press release, I can share the great news.  US Secretary Ray LaHood will be walking with our children tomorrow.  For full press release check out the transportation committee blog.

The meeting point is at Fort Davis and V St, which means Village 4 will be in the background of the photos.  I'm glad we just got the building painting and the scaffolding for the chimney repair came down.

Anne Beers has done a great job of sending flyers home with the kids and robocalls to the parents.  WABA and DDOT placed flyers along the route.  My neighbor and I reminded some of the kids on their walk to school this morning.  Please send up prayers and positive vibes that we have a great turn-out.

(I know who won't sleep tonight..... "Wednesday's child is full of woe")

A song that are apropos

Ms. V loves music. Especially REAL music. I was listening to 'Change it All' by Goapele this afternoon and it just speaks to what's happening in Ward 7 right now.

They're closing all the schools down
Some teachers work for free now
And libraries won't be found
'Cause there's not enough

Can you see a change in your town
Small business close it's doors now
I'm trying to sort it out
What we're giving up

Basically there are people left out
From living comfortably can we figure it out
I've been waiting restlessly for the words to a song
That could change it all, change it all, change it all

I never found a 9 to 5
That was worth it from my soul 'til I
I pursued what brought joy in my life
And there's something for us all

And I still think it is my right
And it's the last and one of few
To get the luxury of learning
Something I could use

Ohh, basically there are people left out
From living comfortably can we figure it out
I've been waiting restlessly for the words to a song
That could change it all, change it all, change it all
(If the words could change it all)
(Change it all)

So many laws are changing
They say it's the price for war
We send over, he spend billions
It's hard to believe that years ago people died to fight

But history feels so far away
We're not fighting for our lives anymore
It's hard to know what's really worth fighting for
Or is it killing and dying on the streets

Ohh, basically there are people left out
From living comfortably can we figure it out
I've been waiting restlessly for the words to a song
That could change it all

Ohh, basically there's enough for us all
So why can't we somehow figure it out
I've been waiting restlessly for the words to a song
That could change it all, change it all, change it all
(If the words could change it all)
Change it all, change it all

If a song could change it all
What if we could change it all