Down to the Wire: Rosedale and Hill East Fight Ward 7 Annexation
by Larry Janezich
Posted December 20, 2021
Tomorrow, the DC Council will hold a final vote on the Ward Redistricting map. Residents of ANC6A in Rosedale and north Hill East have mounted a last ditch effort to sway the Council against extending Ward 7 boundaries to include these two neighborhoods.
A petition circulating in ANC6A against the move declares, “We do not want to be pushed out of Ward 6.” The petition states, in part:
In November 2021, after nearly a dozen public hearings and receiving extensive public input, the Redistricting Subcommittee produced a map that preserved Rosedale in Ward 6 to avoid the racial segregation. But Chairman Phil Mendelson arbitrarily rejected that proposal and sent a new map to the full Council to move Rosedale to Ward 7. We cannot let this happen.
Ward 6 is already experiencing massive gentrification, and Ward 7 is already approximately 95% Black. Moving Rosedale to Ward 7 is yet another boost to gentrification. We urge you to contact Councilmembers today – in particular, Charles Allen, Christina Henderson, Elissa Silverman, and Anita Bonds. Impress upon them that you oppose moving Rosedale to Ward 7 because it politically disenfranchises our community.
You still have time to tell the Council you support the ANC’s request, or another approach to redistricting if you do not agree with the “final” map.
ANC6A Commissioner Sondra Phillips-Gilbert, a long time outspoken opponent of extending Ward 7 to Rosedale, said of the upcoming vote:
“Rosedale should remain in Ward 6 to maintain the “Racial Equity” (Black Electoral Vote and Voice) of one of the largest and oldest Black communities on Capitol Hill. Placing Rosedale in Ward 7 will not add “Economic Equity,” but will disenfranchise 69% of the black vote, or 79 % of the total non-white population in my Single Member District. Based on “CORE’s Racial Equity Assessment Report” Bill 24-0371 will likely exacerbate racial inequity in the District of Columbia. The Redistricting Committee further agreed to preserve “Racial Equity” by keeping the Rosedale Community in Ward 6 in their final report.
Forcing Rosedale out of Ward 6 is not legally justifiable (given that the redistricting legal thresholds do not require this displacement). Chair Mendelson used his prerogative to make deals to slip in his map without any public scrutiny, while our elected leadership on all levels watched it happen. This is the question I would like to leave with our elected officials whom will vote on Tuesday, December 21st. How can you advocate becoming the 51st state in the Union, while you’re in the business of “disenfranchising and gerrymandering “a poor and disadvantaged Black Community in our Nation’s Capital?
In Hill East, former ANC6B commissioner Francis Campbell said residents were unhappy about extending Ward 7 boundaries to include them. “Many feel,” Campbell said, “that CM Charles Allen didn’t fight hard enough to keep Hill East in Ward 6.” Hill East south of East Capitol is caught in a hard place – resentful they had no voice in the development of Ward 7’s Reservation 13 despite being the neighborhood most affected, and still wanting their closely knit community to remain with the Ward with which they most identify.