ANC6A Committee Meets to Air Restorative Justice Issues
by Larry Janezich
Last Monday, ANC6A’s Community Outreach Committee, chaired by Resident Committee Member Roni Hollmon, held a two hour discussion on restorative justice issues.
Members of the discussion panel included CM Charles Allen, representatives of the US Attorney’s Office, and First District MPD officials, as well as representatives from community/civic organizations, including Pranav Nanda, Moms Demand Action; Ms. Thompson El, Co-Chief, Cure the Streets; Naïké Savain, DC Justice Lab; and Gary Zottoli, Defund MPD/Metro DSA.
Allen took the opportunity to hammer home his support for restorative justice programs, saying that two years ago, after the budget had zeroed out all violence prevention efforts he had to put it back as well as funding for victim supports services.
Allen said, “In the most recent budget I put a million extra dollars into restorative justice, doubling the program in the Attorney General’s Office…put millions more to expand Leadership Academy with the Neighborhood Engagement Safety Office, and expanded our Pathways Cohort for the young men and women that come into that program….” He said that at the last minute – because of the shooting at Nationals Park and on 13th street, SE, there was support for adding money exclusively for hiring new police officers; “We had just had a meeting with the Police Chief who said ‘I can’t hire any more than what I’ve got.’ We worked on it…and decided to add some officers but split the funding proposal in half and focused half on violence prevention and community based investment. That’s the way we move forward.”
He added, “Plenty people try to beat me up for it but that’s the kind of investment we’ve got to make…we’ve got to be willing to say, ‘It can’t be a police only response’. Those are the decisions we have to make…how to find a balance – how to make investments…and how do we push back.”
At the close of the meeting, the Committee voted to support two resolutions offered by Committee Outreach Committee resident member Marc Friend: 1) a resolution of support for Councilmember Henderson’s RESTORE ACT to reduce barriers to employment and housing for those who have been arrested but not convicted of a crime or who have served their time and are returning to the community, and 2) a resolution to urge the City Council to increase funding for violence interruption programs such as Cure the Streets.