The UPDATE | February 16 | Black History, Health and Nutrition, and Performance Oversight

The UPDATE | February 16 | Black History, Health and Nutrition, and Performance Oversight

Black History Month: Virginia McLaurin’s Life Illustrates Progress and Problems in Racial Equity

Among Washingtonians who embody the best of what Black History month can be, the late Virginia McLaurin is high on the list. She’s perhaps most widely known for dancing with the Obamas and saying, “’I thought I would never live to get in the White House…A Black president. A Black wife! And I'm here to celebrate Black history.” Beyond that, however, her life experiences demonstrate many of the shifts in Black History over the 20th and early 21st centuries, and her volunteer and advocacy activities exemplify much of what remains to be done. This Black History Month we want to highlight both some of those disparities and some areas of progress.


DC Action Expands Portfolio on Health, Nutrition, and Safety

While DC Action has always recognized the importance of health, nutrition, and safety as indicators of the well-being of children and youth in the District, we are excited to increase our attention to these issues with Hannah Francis in the new position of Food Security and Health Program Coordinator. Francis’ priorities will be monitoring local federal nutrition programs, public health insurance programs, and community safety initiatives as well as mobilizing DC Action’s supporters to action when needed.


Make Your Voice Heard: Testify at Performance Oversight Hearings 

DC Council performance oversight hearings provide District residents and advocates with the opportunity to hold city agencies accountable for their programs and services. We encourage community-based organizations, partners, and residents to sign up to testify at hearings that are relevant to your interests.


Home Visiting 

  • February 24 | Hearing of the Committee on Facilities and Human Services 
  • March 2 | Hearing of the Committee on Health
    Contact Nisa Hussain to learn more or to sign up to testify.


  • March 2 | Hearing of the Committee on Health
    Contact Hannah Francis to learn more or to sign up to testify about WIC

Out-of-School Time

  • February 23 | Hearing of the Committee on Recreation, Libraries and Youth Affairs
  • March 1 | Hearing of the Committee of the Whole
    Contact Ryllie Danylko to learn more or sign up here to testify about OST

Under 3 DC

  • March 1 | Committee of the Whole
    Sign up here to testify about early childhood education, the pay equity fund, child care subsidies, or language access.

Youth Homelessness 

  • February 22 | Committee on Executive Administration and Labor
  • February 23 | Committee on Housing 
  • February 27 | Committee on Executive Administration and Labor
    Contact Rachel White to learn more or to sign up to testify about youth homelessness.

DC Action Welcomes Under 3 DC Campaign Manager Vanessa Lopez

As Campaign Manager for the DC Action’s Under 3 DC Coalition, Vanessa brings experience providing services to underserved community members through the creation of strategic partnerships with decision-makers and nonprofits. Vanessa hails from Los Angeles, California, where she was involved in local politics and worked on a successful city council race. Since moving to Washington, DC, Vanessa has volunteered as a mentor for youth and an advocate for affordable housing. She has served as field director for two DC Council campaigns. Vanessa earned her bachelor’s degree in political science in Los Angeles, and her master’s degree in public policy from the George Washington University. She loves discovering all there is to do in the District, from eating at great food spots to listening to talented local musicians.


In Case You Missed It

  • This week we published Standardizing Wages, Boosting Funding, and Streamlining Reporting Will Strengthen Home Visiting Profession, a policy brief from the Home Visiting Council on improving compensation for home visitors. The recommendations are to: standardize and increase home visitor wages, increase home visiting grant funding, and facilitate the streamlining of data reporting requirements. Read the brief to learn more.

  • Last month our partners at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute released The High Cost of Denying Statehood to the District of Columbia, which reveals that preventing the District from becoming a state is costing it $3.2 billion in revenue each year. Not only is DC’s lack of statehood an economic disaster, but it’s also steeped in systemic racism. “By recognizing DC residents’ rights to self-governance and federal voting representation,” report authors Erica Williams and Nikki Metzgar wrote, “Congress would be correcting a historic harm that is rooted in anti-Blackness and perpetuates racial inequality.”

  • Policy Analyst Ryllie Danylko presented testimony before the DC Council Committee on Public Works and Operations about the need for customized insurance requirements for out-of-school-time organizations.

  • Senior Policy Analyst Rachel White presented testimony before DC Council Committee on Health on the importance of mental health services for youth experiencing homelessness.

  • Correction: In the last issue of THE UPDATE, we included a link to Executive Director Kimberly Perry’s letter to the editor in The Washington Post about the importance of including child care in the District’s plans to revitalize downtown spaces. Please note that Kim’s letter to the editor is the second one on the page, directly underneath the letter from William Evans. 

About DC Action

DC Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, multi-issue advocacy organization making the District of Columbia a place where all kids grow up safe, resilient, powerful and heard. DC Action uses research, data, and a racial equity lens to break down barriers that stand in the way of all kids reaching their full potential. We are home to DC Kids CountUnder 3 DCDC Out-of-School Time Coalition, the DC Home Visiting Council and the Youth Economic Justice and Housing Coalition. Our collaborative advocacy campaigns bring the power of young people and all residents to raise their voices to create change.

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