As many of you know, the Langston Civic Association launched a protest against Sylvia's Liquor earlier this year after the store committed a series of violations including selling alcohol to minors and failing to appear at various ABRA proceedings. Holding the store accountable for these infractions is one of several strategies to help reduce crime on the 1800 block of Benning Rd. NE. The store has long been a hub for violent crime and drug activity. We are still awaiting a final decision from ABRA as to whether the store will lose its liquor license or at least be asked to provide private security and additional cameras angled toward the location of the recent murders and shootings.
In light of the tragic murder of Randall Francis, which took place on November 26. The civic association has sent a follow-up letter to ABRA requesting the immediate closure of the store.
You can view that follow-up letter as well as a transcript of the Oct. 17 protest hearing using the link below.
In addition to these efforts, the civic association has also:
1. Asked DCRA to improve security for nearby vacant properties
2. Requested that MPD put more proactive officers on the 1800 block of Benning Rd. NE with an emphasis on foot patrols rather than parked cars
3. Contacted the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement about getting violence prevention services on the 1800 block of Benning Rd. NE
4. Scheduled a community meeting on Wednesday Dec. 5 at 7 PM at the Patsy Hartsfield Center. Whether you are a member of the civic association or live in a nearby community that borders Benning Rd. please plan to attend.
First, thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to attend a community meeting on a cold, rainy night. When we have a room full of concerned citizens ready to speak out, that makes a big difference.
On Tuesday, members of the Langston Civic Association voted to protest the ABRA license held by Sylvia's Liquor at 1818 Benning Rd. NE during its quarterly meeting. The owner of the store, Jason Kwong, attended the meeting and engaged with neighbors about violent crime, drug activity and loitering near the store. Neighbors also discussed possible solutions that the store as well as the community should pursue to improve the 1800 block of Benning Rd. NE including Great Streets grant funding, small business programs, a special detail of off-duty MPD officers paid for by the storeowner and other programs.
At this point, LCA will continue to gather feedback from members about how to move forward with either a settlement agreement or a request to revoke the license. Members will receive emails requesting their input for desired improvements.
The association just completed a successful protest of the "Food 7 Store" which is also on the 1800 block of Benning Rd. NE.
The community met with Sgt. David Jones and Officer Mincey of MPD to discuss recent reports of gunshots in our neighborhood. Sgt. Jones informed residents that there have been 25 recent reports of shots (a 19% uptick) in our Police Service Area, PSA 507. Unfortunately, MPD has had some difficulty finding the actual scenes of these incidents and shell casings have only been found in 5 of the 25 reported shootings. Sgt. Jones suggested that residents could help to improve MPD's ability to find the scene of the shooting if callers give their exact address when reporting an incident rather than the location where they believe the shots originated.
The Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement also gave a presentation on some of the innovative methods that they are using to help fight the underlying causes of violent crime as well as prevention efforts geared at breaking up disputes. They will be collaborating with the Department of Behavioral Health to offer targeted services to drug dependent people who congregate at the Starburst plaza and along Benning Rd., bringing job-training programs to the community and hiring violence interrupters assigned to our neighborhood.
FY 2018 Budget
LCA Also voted to approve its FY 2018 Budget. The budget helps map out some of the organization's programming goals for the spring and summer including a school supply giveaway and support for other youth activities. The association has also collaborated with other charities to secure additional grant funding for the community, but those grants will be managed by our partner organizations and are not reflected in the FY 2018 budget.
LCA has been accepted to the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s anti-littering crusade. The foundation will be sponsoring a marketing campaign in our neighborhood that has been shown to reduce litter by as much as 35%. Expect to see blue signs throughout the neighborhood this summer. Please contact Jonathan Goddell or Sydelle Moore directly if you would like an anti-littering yard sign to put in your tree box or yard.
UPDATED: Video added March 28, 2018
This is not your last chance to speak up...
Thanks so much to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to attend the Langston Civic Association's community roundtable with Mayor Bowser. These meetings are only effective when neighbors show up and address the issues that are important to them and make it clear that we care.
Please know that this will not be the last of these conversations with the mayor or councilmember and that every single issue addressed will receive follow up from the mayor's staff as well as our civic association president, Sydelle Moore. If you have additional issues, questions or comments, please email us.
There is already a map of sidewalk and street repairs in the hands of our Mayor's Office of Community Relations as well as DDOT to address the specific concerns raised last night. MPD will also be attending the next Langston Civic Association meeting to continue to work on our concerns about recent shootings in the area. The Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement has also dispatched members of their response team to try and help with getting appropriate violence intervention staff to track down and mediate between the parties involved in recent shootings.
The civic association meetings are open to all and we look forward to continuing to work together to enhance civic pride, community engagement and safety. OUR NEXT MEETING WILL BE TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2018 AT 6 PM at 2109 Maryland Ave NE (rear entrance).
President, Langston Civic Association
After months of negotiation with both Food 7 and ABRA, the Langston Civic Association has reached a final draft of a settlement agreement with the store. This draft agreement includes all of the community's suggestions gathered since late last year in addition to demands to stop the sale of alcohol to minors and prohibit the sale of any items considered drug paraphernalia. The store has agreed to all of the terms included as well as several additional terms that cannot be included in an ABRA agreement including:
The final agreement will be signed February 15, 2018. At that point ABRA may make additional changes to the language or remove any clauses that they deem unenforceable before finalizing the terms. Once ABRA's review is complete, the final version of the document will be posted on the ABRA website as well as our blog.