December 12, 2014
Muriel Bowser Mayor-Elect
One Judiciary Square 441
4th Street N.W. Suite 727-North
Washington, D.C. 2001
Dear Mayor-Elect Bowser:
We pray that this letter finds you well. We the undersigned are writing regarding the issue of ending homicide in Washington DC. We are following up on the Mayoral candidate forum we held on March 29th, 2014 at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church where you boldly committed, if elected Mayor, to a) publicly state the goal of ending homicide in Washington, D.C. and b) convening a task force comprised of public and private sector representatives to update the District of Columbia Comprehensive Homicide Elimination Strategy Task Force 2008 Report and create a new comprehensive plan to end murder in Washington, D.C.
We are writing with four requests. First – that your transition plans include a goal of naming members of the task force in your first 100 days in office. Second, that the task force is charged to issue its report with recommendations for action and implementation steps within your first year in office. Third, that your Administration’s goal documents and your public statements begin to include language stating the vision of ending murder in our city. Finally – we request an opportunity to meet with you and your team to discuss this effort and how members of the faith community can be helpful to this work.
We are pleased to see that reducing homicide is mentioned in your transition committee paper. Our hope is that once sworn in as Mayor - you will state publicly a goal of ending murder in D.C. - laying out a plan of action by the District government that will involve public participation in crafting and implementing a comprehensive plan to end the scourge of violence in our city. We suggest that the following categories of stakeholders be considered for inclusion with representatives on a task force: victim survivors, Metropolitan Police, U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender Service, Court Supervisor and Offender Supervision Agency, D.C. Superior Court, D.C. Public Schools, D.C. Housing Authority, go-go music community, social service provider, mental health provider, organized labor, job training/placement provider, D.C. Chamber of Commerce, Federal City Council, returning citizens, Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute, Washington Regional Association of Grant Makers, organized faith community, local media, local professional sports team. We encourage the use of a local think tank or University as an assigned resource to assist the Task Force with writing and research. This group could also be considered to assist over time with the tracking of the implementation and effectiveness of the plan.
Unfortunately, there have been numerous episodes in the District just since your election where multiple persons have been killed in a short time span, and episodes where multiple persons have been shot but fortunately did not die. The sad persistent reality is that homicides in the District disproportionately impact African-American males and certain communities in our city. We believe you have a unique opportunity as a new Mayor to set a bold tone and engage community stakeholders as partners in the effort to make DC "MURDER FREE". We look forward to working with you and others in a collaborative manner to help save lives in our city.
You or your staff may contact Rev. David Bowers at 202-431-2752 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any follow-up. Thank you for your consideraKon of our requests.
God bless you and your work on behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia.
Rev. Dr. Michael Bell, Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church Rev. David Bowers, NO MURDERS DC
Rev. La Verne R. Harley, Abigail
Rev. Daryl Kearney, Campbell A.M.E. Church
Rev. Tony Lee, Community of Hope A.M.E. Church
Rev. Dr. Morris L. Shearin, Sr., Israel Baptist Church
Pastor Claritha Stewart, Independent Church of God
Pastor L. Frazier White, Faith Tabernacle UHCA
Cc: Karma CoIman Judith Sandalow