Mayor's Office of Racial Equity Newsletter April 2022

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April 2022 Newsletter

FY 2023 Fair Shot Budget: Investing in Racial Equity

The Office of Racial Equity (ORE) works to normalize, organize, and operationalize racial equity throughout District government. One way it does this is through the budget process to make sure  that government resources and programs are moving the needle on equity in DC. For the FY23 budget process, ORE developed the Racial Equity Budget Tool (REBT) to help District agencies identify and develop budget proposals that advance racial equity. The REBT was designed as a set of questions to guide District agencies in assessing how their budgets help to close racial equity gaps in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. The tool requires purposeful consideration of how residents might experience different outcomes based on race and ethnicity, focuses on data, and encourages community input and involvement. It is recommended that agencies use the tool during the planning phase of the budget formulation process. For more information on the Racial Equity Budget Tool, please see the Office of Racial Equity website.

Every budget season, agencies make enhancement requests which are requests for additional funding outside of the regularly planned funding each agency receives. ORE developed a budget enhancement review process which it tested during the FY 2023 budget cycle. The ORE policy team reviewed budget enhancements against four benchmarks: the strength and quality of the evidence presented, the enhancement’s potential benefits and burdens on communities of color, potential unintended consequences, and the role of community engagement in the development of the enhancement’s proposed activities. ORE classified each enhancement based on its potential to impact racial equity. The five levels are: “no justification,” “demonstrates a rationale,” “promising justification,” “moderate justification,” and finally “strong justification to advance racial equity.” ORE staff were closely involved in reviewing budget submissions and providing input and recommendations. The level of ORE’s time and energy invested in the budget process reflects the city and the Mayor’s commitment to investing  District resources to make D.C. more equitable for all residents. 

Key Highlights of District Government’s FY 2023 Investments in Advancing Racial Equity

This year (FY 2023), almost 80% of District agencies submitted a budget enhancement. Among the agencies who submitted a FY 2023 enhancement, 66% submitted at least one enhancement with a racial equity focus. This is a very high rate  for a pilot year which shows agency dedication to closing equity gaps. In the table below, ORE presents agencies which submitted a racial equity enhancement as a subset of agencies that submitted at least one budget enhancement in FY 2023. 

  • $1 million to assist multi-generational families in maintaining their family property after the death of the original homeowner.
  • $77.2 million increase to support the 5.9% base increase in the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula.
  • $44.4 million to right-size the rental assistance budget for the Family Rehousing and Stabilization Program (FRSP) to keep pace with the current and projected program size and allow for direct contracting of case management services, capacity building, quality improvement, and improved program outcomes through closer oversight and monitoring.
  • $14.23 million to raise wages for participants in the DC Infrastructure Academy, Marion Berry Summer Youth Employment Program, and Division of State Initiatives programs.
  • An historic $409 million investment in the Housing Production Trust Fund to support the creation, acquisition, and maintenance of affordable housing in the District.
  • $10 million invested in the new Black Homeownership Fund to increase access to homeownership for longtime District residents.
  • $1.7 million to provide 23 personnel to support high-quality care coordination, including life coaches, to provide critical violence intervention services for at-risk individuals. 

In This Issue

Muriel Bowser - Mayor

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Muriel Bowser

District of Columbia

April is Celebrate Diversity Month

A celebration that was initiated in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, organizers hope that people will gain a deeper understanding of each other.

COMING UP: May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants.

Please see the Mayor's Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs for events and news HERE. 

Equity Term of the Month


REIA means a systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. REIAs are used to minimize unanticipated adverse consequences in a variety of contexts, including the analysis of proposed policies, institutional practices, programs, plans and budgetary decisions. The REIA can be a vital tool for preventing institutional racism and for identifying new options to remedy long-standing inequities.


Meet the Director of Policy and Operations


Dr. Chikarlo Leak has extensive experience working within local government and academic settings. In his government and academic work, Dr. Leak has implemented policies, programs, and services that seek to improve health outcomes, reduce health disparities, and employ a community-based approach to behavioral change. As the Policy and Operations Manager with the Office of Racial Equity (ORE), he reviews and develops policies and programs to address systemic inequities by ensuring racial equity is embedded into the delivery of services the District provides to its residents.

Prior to joining the ORE, Dr. Leak served as the Policy Director for the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services where he advised the Chief of Staff on issues related to policy and legislative review, policy development, and implementation. His tenure with the DC government also includes serving as the Supervisory Epidemiologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). At OCME, he was responsible for conducting epidemiological research in hope of reducing the incidence and prevalence of preventable deaths. Dr. Leak is passionate about utilizing data to drive decision making and using data to evaluate the larger inequalities in the social determinants of health for the overall improvement of policies and services offered to individuals and communities.

Dr. Leak earned his Doctorate of Public Health from the Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA, a Master of Public Health from San Diego State University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science from Slippery Rock University.

Fun fact: Chikarlo enjoys riding 25-50 miles on his bike during the weekends. His favorite trail is the W & OD trail; pay attention if you are out on the trail because you just may see him in action.

Office of Racial Equity in Action

PSC logo

The D.C. Public Service Commission Women’s History Month Celebration 2022

Last month, in honor of Women’s History Month, Dr. Amber Hewitt joined the DC Public Service Commission to discuss the various biases that women, especially women of color, must navigate and overcome in the workplace. She also discussed ways we can all interrupt our unconscious  biases to achieve equity and inclusion at work. The D.C. Public Service Commission serves the public interest by ensuring that financially healthy utility companies provide safe, reliable and quality utility services at reasonable rates for District of Columbia customers, while fostering grid modernization, conservation of natural resources, preservation of environmental quality, and advancement of the District’s climate policy commitments.

Emancipation Day Photo

DC Emancipation Day 2022

After a two-year hiatus, we were excited to return to an in-person celebration of DC Emancipation Day on Saturday, April 16th! DC Emancipation Day  commemorates the abolition of slavery in the nation's capital. President Abraham Lincoln enacted the historic law one year into the Civil War, preceding the widely known Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. This year’s celebration included the return of our beloved parade led by Mayor Bowser, DC Statehood Food Truck Palooza, and the family-friendly All Star Emancipation Day Concert at Freedom Plaza which featured performances by Ceelo Green, Junkyard Band, Crystal Waters, Slick Rick, DJ Kool, Dior Ashley Brown and the Filthy Animals, Ramsey Renee, Alfredo Mojica & Friends, Crochet Kingpin, Jessey Lee, The Eastern High School Marching Band, The Nation’s Capital Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc., and Miss District of Columbia 2021 Andolyn Medina singing our National Anthem.

Community Partners' Corner


Anacostia Parks and Community Collaborative (APACC)

This Earth Month, we are highlighting the Anacostia Parks and Community Collaborative (APACC). APACC is a network of over thirty community-based organizations and local leaders who are committed to equitably "maximizing the value of public spaces along the Anacostia River to residents of Ward 7 and 8 in the District of Columbia." In Washington, D.C., where we have some of the most green space per capita, APACC is "collaborating to build a community-based vision for how the Anacostia River corridor can support the social, mental, physical, spiritual and economic health of Ward 7 and Ward 8 residents."

Visit APACC online for more information. 

Government Partners' Corner

People of Promise

People of Promise Initiative

To close out National Reentry Month, Mayor Bowser announced that approximately 200 residents who have been identified as most at risk of committing or being victimized by violent crime have been matched with inter-agency service teams for urgent connection to services. The People of Promise initiative is targeting the approximately 200 residents who have been identified by the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) as being at highest risk of involvement in gun violence in the District. Each person has been assigned a multidisciplinary team to include a Credible Contact, a Pathfinder, and a member of Mayor Bowser’s cabinet. 

The primary goal of the initiative is to disrupt cycles of violence, poverty, and incarceration through consistent engagement with individuals and connections, support, and services. Credible Contacts are staff from the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE), the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), or the Department of Corrections (DOC) who utilize community connections to find individuals in the community and build trusting relationships with them to learn more about risk level, stage of readiness, and service needs. 

The Mayor’s FY 2023 budget includes a $1.7 million investment that will strengthen this initiative by adding approximately 20 Life Coaches to provide intensive and high-quality care coordination services.

Find more information here.


General Resources

  • From May 2–6, 2022, the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment will celebrate Air Quality Awareness Week. The theme this year is Healthy Air – Important for Everyone! DOEE’s Air Quality Division will be hosting two events in celebration of the week:   
    • Starting at 4:00PM on Tuesday, May 3, a Fix-It Clinic will take place at Alethia Tanner Park. Then at 6:00PM, DOEE, in collaboration with American University, will host a screening of “Unbreathable: The Fight for Healthy Air” at Alethia Tanner Park. Academic experts, advocates, and DOEE staff will take part in a panel discussion after the film.  
    • On Thursday, May 5, DOEE staff and community members will meet in front of the Alexander Crummell School in Ivy City at 5:30PM for a community walk. Residents will use handheld air quality monitors to record data in real time. 

Residents and visitors of the District are encouraged to regularly check the Air Quality Index (AQI) to      be aware of the air conditions in the area. Stay informed on a mobile device by downloading EPA’s AIRNow App for Android or for iPhone  

Learn more about Air Quality Awareness week on our website

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

Public Safety

  • DC Fire & EMS Cadet Program is accepting applications. Apply today! 
  • Calling the best and brightest young women and men in the city to serve their communities through our Core Values: Bravery, Accountability, Safety, Integrity, Compassion & Service.
  • Saturday, May 7: DMV Vehicle Safety MPD’s First District Outreach Team will be at the DC DMV-Southwest Service Center (95 M Street SW) to educate and engage about vehicle safety and to equip residents with the information to safeguard their vehicles from theft.
  • Wednesday, May 11: Senior Music Trivia at SeVerna (K 43 K Street, NW) 1:00PM - 2:30PM.
    • Music trivia is one of our fun ways of engaging with the senior community. This event's theme will be around robbery prevention. The participants will be provided with an informational session before the music trivia kickoff.
  • Thursday, May 12: Senior Safety Seminar at Golden Rule Plaza (1050 New Jersey Ave, NW) 1PM - 2:30PM. 
  • Saturday, May 14: DC Fire and EMS 150th Anniversary Parade and Apparatus Muster
    • Location: Constitution Avenue NW, between 7th and 15th Streets

    • Parade: Constitution Avenue NW, between 7th and 14th Streets | 11:00PM - 1:00PM

    • Apparatus Muster: Constitution Avenue NW, between 14th and 15th Streets | 1:30PM - 5:30PM.

  • Saturday, May 14: Police Week Kickoff  at 300 13th Street, NE from 3PM- 7PM
    • Enjoy family fun with your local police officers and meet Executive Assistant Chief of Police Ashan Benedict as we kick off National Police Week 2022. There will be food, entertainment by the MPD Side by Side band and more.
  • Tuesday, May 17: "A Focus on Family Safety'' Missing Person Kit Craft Event at SeVerna (43 K Street NW) from 1PM - 2:30PM
    • Missing person kits is another initiative to help keep the community safe. Residents are provided with a missing person kit including an up to date photo. This serves as our "go to tool" for the community to provide MPD in the event their loved one went missing. Each kit contains all information law enforcement will ask.
  • Wednesday, May 18: "Let's Kickoff a Conversation" Coffee with a Cop @ Philz Coffee Navy Yard (1331 4th Street SE #101) from 11AM - 12PM
    • Meet your local Captain, Lieutenant as well as officers and brew up good conversation over a good cup of coffee. Bring your dog! Philz at the Navy loves dogs and even has a water bowl outside to refresh your four footed loved one!

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 - August 19. 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 - 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

  • POWERUP DC 2022 Small Business Summit 
    • Hosted by DC Health Link, its small business partners, media partners, and the Small Business Brain Trust, POWERUP DC was developed to celebrate and support the small business community. POWERUP DC provides enriching business experiences, resources, and networking opportunities through a range of cutting-edge seminars, special events and focused presentations. During POWERUP DC, government and private sector representatives present the latest business trends and contracting opportunities for small businesses. Learn more and register online.
  • 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.

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


Photo of a Mural of Maya Angelou