Mayor's Office of Racial Equity Newsletter March 2022

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Budgeting for Racial Equity

We are continuing to celebrate the bold investments made by Mayor Bowser in the District’s recently proposed budget. The FY 2023 budget proposal builds on the Recovery Budget we put forward last year to strengthen core city services, improve the experiences of residents and businesses interacting with District government, and provide greater opportunities for residents to learn, grow and thrive. Among these investments are legacy initiatives to help longtime District residents stay in DC. This budget is one that reflects what we are hearing from DC residents and continues to ensure residents have a Fair Shot, which includes:

  • Heirs Property Legal Services: $1 million to assist multi-generational families in maintaining their family property after the death of the original homeowner
  • Black Homeownership Fund and Strikeforce: New $10M fund to increase access to homeownership for longtime Black DC residents 
  • 2% Senior Property Tax Cap: Lowers the cap on annual increases in property taxes for seniors from 5% to 2%
  • Single Family Residential Rehab Program: Additional $3M over two years to help low=income homeowners fix and maintain their home
  • FloodSmart Homes: $2.6M to help residents in flood-prone areas, especially in Wards 7 and 8, retrofit their homes to reduce the risk of damage
  • Home Weatherization & Lead and Mold Remediation: $10M to make energy-efficiency improvements and remediate lead and mold hazards to improve both the health and comfort of residents.

Mayor Bowser’s commitment to and investments in advancing racial equity in D.C. are not limited to the budget enhancements listed above. She is continuing to make strides in advancing racial equity through strategic investments and hiring practices. Recently she announced the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) goal to increase the representation of women in police department recruit classes to 30% by 2030, and to ensure police policies and culture intentionally support the success of women officers throughout their careers. Additionally, as District agency leadership request financial investments that will advance racial equity, they are also investing their time in racial equity trainings and initiatives, such as ORE's pilot cohort and REIA training.

Meet the District's First Chief Equity Officer


Over the course of the next few months we will be shining the spotlight on the members of Team ORE. As we close out Women’s History Month, we are kicking off with Dr. Amber Hewitt who is DC’s first Chief Equity Officer. Dr. Hewitt is the Chief Equity Officer for the Government of the District of Columbia and the Director of the Mayor's Office of Racial Equity. In this role, she works in collaboration with District leadership and agencies to apply a racial equity lens across government operations. In 2018, she was appointed by Mayor Bowser to the Commission on Fathers, Men, and Boys. Dr. Hewitt was the Director of Health Equity at Families USA, a national, nonpartisan consumer health advocacy organization. Prior to that, she advocated for an integrated children’s health system. Amber’s background also includes serving as an American Psychological Association/American Association for the Advancement of Science health policy fellow in the Office of U.S. Senator Cory Booker. She began her career as a tenure-track professor teaching undergraduate and doctorate-level courses in psychology, social justice, multicultural counseling and diversity issues at the University of Akron and Loyola University Chicago. Her research on adolescent identity development and well-being, with a special focus on Black boys and young men, has been published in several top-tier academic journals. A counseling psychologist by training, Amber has provided psychotherapy and psycho-educational testing for children and families. She received her B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Southern California, M.A. in psychology from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Loyola University Chicago. She holds adjunct faculty appointments at Catholic University, American University, and Simmons University.

Fun fact: Amber used to fence in high school and the sabre was her instrument of choice.

In This Issue

Muriel Bowser - Mayor

Mayor Muriel Bowser

Muriel Bowser

District of Columbia

Legacy Initiative


Mayor Muriel Bowswer and LaToya Liles, owner of Tsunami Hair Studio

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announced the inaugural awardees of the Commercial Property Acquisition Fund, a program that provides eligible businesses with down payment assistance for the acquisition of commercial property in the District. The first two awardees are Tsunami Hair Studio in Ward 7 and The Spice Suite in Ward 4 moving to Ward 5. Learn more here.

Equity Term of the Month


Refers to any person or group that has an interest in or is affected by the action or process in question. Stakeholders include residents, business operators and owners, property owners, non-profits, public and private agencies, and organizations. Identifying the full spectrum of stakeholders is one of the early and critical steps in developing an effective community engagement strategy.

GARE Annual Membership Meeting 2022

The Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE) Annual Membership Meeting gathers racial equity practitioners who work in local, state, and regional government to uplift best practices, celebrate victories, and share lessons learned from their work advancing racial equity in their jurisdictions.

This year’s annual membership meeting will be from April 19-21, 2022, in Portland, Oregon and Online! Together, we will explore the theme, "Reimagining Government for Racial Equity and Justice."

View program details here.

Office of Racial Equity in Action

Roadmap to Racial Justice: Investing in Affordable Housing

Last month, in celebration of Black History Month, the Mayor's Office of Racial Equity hosted a virtual discussion entitled “Roadmap to Racial Justice: Investing in Affordable Housing.” This event built upon the Health Equity Summit (December 2021) co-hosted by DC Health and ORE, highlighting the social and economic drivers of health. Promoting health equity requires us to directly face and address the root causes of inequities across all the key drivers of opportunities for health, knowing that building a healthy community has benefits that extend well beyond health alone. This panel discussion focused on housing as a social and structural driver of health outcomes. We shared an overview of Mayor Bowser’s housing equity priorities and affordable housing goals. Director Hewitt led a panel of local community experts to discuss how they are moving the needle on housing equity through a racial justice lens. Please visit the ORE Facebook page to view here.


Recap Photo

SERVE 202: Priorities and Partnership Series Recap

In February, Dr. Hewitt participated in the The Mayor's Office on Volunteerism and Partnerships' (Serve DC) Priorities & Partnerships Series. This discussion featured local leaders in District Government and Nonprofits field on Racial Equity and Volunteerism in the District. Panelists provided information and tools on how to create more equitable and accessible practices and opportunities to get members within serviced communities to be connected, mobilized, and engaged in meaningful ways. ServeDC is only one such example of local government agencies that are leading the way by focusing on racial equity. 

serve dc

Recap Photo

Racial Equity Tour

On March 25th, the Mayor’s Office of Racial Equity team joined community members and Anacostia Park and Community Collaborative (APACC) and Washington Parks and People for an equity tour of Marvin Gaye Park in Ward 7. APACC is a network of organizations committed to maximizing the value of public spaces along the Anacostia River to residents of Ward 7 and 8 in the District of Columbia.

Equity Tour

Equity Tour Photos

Community Partner's Corner


The Anti-Racist DC (ARDC) campaign envisions a city where racial disparities would be eradicated by 2030. The campaign is aimed at creating a network of individuals, organizations, and institutions committed to affirming the dignity and human worth of all DC residents, repairing the generational harm caused by racialized systems and policies and; advancing policy solutions that expand social and economic opportunities for DC residents, particularly those from historically marginalized groups. This month, ARDC convened a virtual conversation to discuss and promote collaboration across sectors to advance racial equity. This event included a panel of five experts to discuss ​​the role of government partnerships, individual behavior transformation, organizational transformation, public policy, and the private sector in advancing racial equity in the District. Mayor Bowser also joined to share her commitment to achieving a racially equitable city and steps that her administration continues to take to make our shared vision a reality. Please visit their website at to learn more about and join the campaign. And sign up for their next working meeting here.

Government Partner's Corner


DC Department on Disability Services

The Department of Disability Services (DDS) serves residents with disabilities together with a network of private and non-profit providers. DDS and its partner agencies focus on building relationships and trust with D.C.’s diverse communities to better serve residents. One example of this is DDS’ annual all-Spanish language conference which DDS hosts with community partners and other District agencies. Based on community interest, DDS launched its first all-Amharic event with community partners in March of 2022. Its next all-Amharic event will be Wednesday, April 20, 2022. (Please see details below – link to events section) DDS is also a participating agency in ORE’s Racial Equity Pilot Cohort.


Education and Youth Programming

  • OSSE’s DC Futures Program
    • DC Futures is a newly created program that aims to help DC college students complete their first associate or bachelor’s degree by providing a last-dollar scholarship at three local universities - University of the District of Columbia, Trinity Washington University, and the Catholic University of America - in addition to college coaching and support services. Applications are open from February 1 – to August 19, 2022. Eligible individuals can apply here and reach out to with questions. 
  • Summer Programming at DCPS
    • Spring is just around the corner, and that means it is already time for families to start thinking about summer programming. DC Public Schools (DCPS) invites all DCPS students currently enrolled in pre-K4 through 4th grade to be part of the DCPS Elementary Summer Acceleration program. This five-week program will take place on weekdays from July 5 to August 5 and offer full days of learning, fun, and friendship. Families can register for the Summer Acceleration program HERE. Space is limited, and families will be directed to the school in their assigned neighborhood feeder pattern when registering online.

Small Business Owner Support

  • Commercial Property Acquisition Fund 
    • The Commercial Property Acquisition Fund provides down payment assistance through grants of up to $750,000 or 25% of the sale price, whichever is less, to eligible businesses looking to maintain and expand their operations to a physical presence in the District. The Fund offers grants for equity impact enterprise businesses or businesses eligible to be a certified equity impact enterprise. Visit the Fund’s website to learn more and apply online.
  • Nourish DC Financing, Technical Assistance, and Grants
    • Launched in 2021, the Nourish DC Collaborative was created in partnership with the District government to support the development of a robust ecosystem of locally owned food businesses, neighborhood vibrancy, and health equity in DC communities, especially in neighborhoods underserved by grocery stores and other food businesses. Nourish DC provides flexible loans, technical assistance, and catalytic grants to emerging and existing food businesses in the District of Columbia, with a preference for businesses located in or owned by residents of underserved neighborhoods. Learn more and apply on the Nourish DC website.
  • SMBX Small Business Bonds
    • With this new program from the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, District residents can raise capital for their small businesses by issuing Small Business Bonds on SMBX. A Small Business Bond™ is like a loan, but instead of paying your monthly principal and interest to a bank, principal and interest are paid to a community of investors. All businesses are encouraged to apply, especially those from communities that have historically been denied access to capital or are in Wards 5, 7, or 8. Learn more and apply online.

Find more small business resources from the Department of Small and Local Business Development’s resource page


General Resources

  • DC Public Library JobNow
    • Any District resident with a DC Public Library card can visit JobNow free of charge and access job search databases, resume and interview help, tutoring services, and more. Log in with a valid library card number online
  • Front Door
    • Front Door is a new online resource for District residents to explore 50+ resources to help them thrive as homeowners. From saving on utilities to getting help paying the mortgage and more, Front Door is the one-stop shop for housing resources in the District. District residents who are homeowners or renters can explore resources online. Individuals experiencing a housing emergency, whether or not they are housed, can find resources here.  
  • DPR Hiring
    • Want to help make fun happen? DPR is now hiring for more than 500 summer jobs! Make new friends and memories while earning money at sites across DC. Examples of available jobs include: lifeguard, camp counselor, and warehouse assistant. Learn more and apply for a position at
  • DDS Community Listening Session
    • The Department on Disability Services, the Developmental Disabilities Council, and partner agencies will be hosting a Listening Session about Disability-Related Needs and Strengths with the Ethiopian and Eritrean Communities on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, from 6:30- 7:30 pm. This event will be held in Amharic and interpreted into English, Tigrinya, and ASL.
      • Join Zoom Meeting here
      • Meeting ID: 835 7314 4068

        Passcode: 483170

        Dial by your location

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

        Meeting ID: 835 731

  • Office of Human Rights Fair Housing in Time of COVID: A Panel Discussion
    • Join the DC Office of Human Rights on Thursday, April 7, 2022, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm, for Fair Housing Month (FHM) to discuss the variety of ways COVID-19 has impacted fair housing.

    • Join the DC Office of Human Rights on Thursday, April 28, 2022,  from 6:00pm to 7:30pm for Fair Housing Listening Lab.

Follow ORE on Twitter and Instagram for the latest news from our office, or schedule a meeting with ORE to engage with us directly.