In the wake of last week’s offer by Deputy Mayor Turnage’s office to extend the Georgetown contract only if advocates could identify specific gaps in the DDS transition plan (https://dds.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dds/page_content/attachments/DDSGeorgetownUCEDDPlan-71919.pdf), there have been follow-up approaches to the administration, but these met only with the response that Turnage has responsibility for this matter and has already given the Bowser administration’s position.
This episode has galvanized the advocacy community and is giving rise to a lot of discussion about next steps. There is widespread recognition that the failure in this case to engage and consult with stakeholders long before the deed was done was no exception, and that it’s essential to ramp up the voice of the disability community in developing the vision and strategy for D.C. disability supports in the coming years. At the same time, it also is absolutely necessary to broaden our representation to segments of the community that have not normally been heard – and our allies – in order to grow our base.
There are varying views at this point about the ability still to effect change with respect to the Georgetown contract. For my part, I believe a solid analysis of the transition plan – even though we all agree it came far too late – might still have a chance of identifying critical reasons for an emergency extension, and I doubt that any other action before the end of August will have much effect.
There is a more fundamental issue here, however, that is about not being taken for granted in future and about being viewed from here on as an integral part of a diverse D.C. population. There is a lot we can do on this front. To that end, please pay close attention to the DD Council’s website - https://ddc.dc.gov/ - in the coming days for further news about gathering and organizing stakeholders. For starters, if you haven't done it already, I encourage everyone reading this to put onto their calendars the September 19 hearing on D.C. statehood (10:00 at the House Rayburn Office Building) – see https://www.showup4dc.com/.
Showing up reliably and insisting on being recognized and valued citizens of the District of Columbia is going to be our best insurance against future episodes of this kind.
More to come on all of this -