Supporting Survivors of Crime and Returning Residents
Hello DC Neighbors,
On Tuesday evening, my office, the University of the District of Columbia, and More Than Our Crimes co-hosted a documentary screening and discussion about how we can best support residents reentering our communities. We heard from two returning residents, Pete and James, who were each incarcerated for more than twenty years before being released under the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act.
Pete and James are now serving in our community as credible messengers for teens who need help staying on the right track. Both were under 16 when they were first convicted and were later convicted of more serious crimes that resulted in them being sent across the country to federal prisons far from home.
Their stories are moving and I’m grateful that they shared their experiences with us. Hearing from people who have been through the system always reminds me how much work must still be done to make our justice system create better outcomes for our community. It is crucial that we meet returning residents' practical needs in the short term as they reenter and also address over the long term the trauma that leads young people to be in desperate situations in our city.
This event coincided with my office announcing two new grant programs this week to support survivors of crime as they recover from trauma and to help returning residents navigate a successful return home. There’s no simple fix for the complex problems that cause violence or the trauma that follows it, but I am confident that these grants will be significant tools in the fight to help make DC safer.
Standing Up for DC Gig Workers
Today my office announced that Drizly will pay more than $6 million, including nearly $2 million in restitution to drivers, for misleading consumers about tips and not paying sales tax. Drizly, a gig economy alcohol delivery company, has to play by the same rules as brick and mortar businesses in the District. That’s why we investigated the company and secured the tips for workers that Drizly owed drivers.
If you drove for Drizly in DC between January 1, 2019 and November 14 of this year, a claims administrator will reach out to help you get $6.75 per delivery. Learn more about my office’s settlement with Drizly here.
Video Contest: Encouraging Safe Driving
This week, my office launched a video contest encouraging District high school students to submit brief videos about the harms of getting behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol or drugs. We’re working with other District agencies to put on this contest to get young people involved in encouraging safe driving, because there’s no better messenger than a friend or a classmate.
Eligible submissions will earn students up to 10 community service hours needed for graduation. And, as an added bonus, students who submit videos will have a chance to win prizes like Visa gift cards. If you know any young people who love to make creative videos, spread the word!
Legal Update: Our Lawsuit Against Big Oil is Coming Back to DC
For some good news to close out this newsletter, the judge in our lawsuit against Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron, and Shell recently ruled that our lawsuit belongs in our local court, before DC residents. We filed our lawsuit two years ago to expose these big oil companies’ rampant deception and stop it. These companies are throwing everything they have at this case to delay and move it to federal court and have already asked the court to reconsider its decision that the case is properly in local court. We are confident that we’ll prevail once again.
But for now, we should celebrate this ruling, because it is an important step toward accountability for big oil.