Brooke's Briefing: COVID Recovery and Vaccination Plan, Criminal Justice Reform, and LGBTQ Advocacy

Posted by
Emmanuel Brantley
December 3, 2020

Councilmember Brooke Pinto, Ward 2

Opening Remarks

Dear Neighbor,

December is here, and the year is coming to a close – but that does not mean we are slowing down! This newsletter is slightly longer than usual, but there are many legislative and community updates that I want to share with you. I would also like to share a few updates on the District’s COVID response.

We began this week with the 33rd commemoration of World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. In honor of this occasion, I introduced Bill 23-1011, the "Minor Consent to Healthcare for HIV and AIDS Regulations Amendment Act of 2020," to increase access to medical care for minors seeking treatment of HIV and AIDS, help to erase harmful stigmas, and increase public health education.

December 1st marked what would have been the 44th birthday of Matthew Shepard, a college student killed in 1998 due to his sexual orientation. To remember Matthew and honor the many others we lost to senseless violence, I introduced the "Furthering Equality and the Prohibition of the LGBTQ+ Panic Defense Ceremonial Recognition Resolution of 2020." This ceremonial resolution reinforces the Council’s commitment to making the District a safer and more inclusive city for LGBTQIA+ residents and came just as the Council voted to pass legislation that bans the use of the LGBTQ panic defense in a court of law and also deters hate crimes in our city. For more information on this resolution and legislation passed at the Council this week, please see the “Legislative Update” below.

Tuesday also marked the annual celebration of #GivingTuesday. We celebrate this occasion on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and use the day to give back to organizations fighting for worthy causes. Although Giving Tuesday has passed, you can still support the charities and organizations working so very hard on behalf of Ward 2. Visit the “In the Community Section” to learn more.

Lastly, I hope to see many of you at the Holiday Markets in Ward 2 this Saturday! It’s a wonderful way to greet neighbors, shop local and shop small, and enjoy the holiday season. Visit the “Announcements” section for more information about the holiday markets, vendors, and their operating schedules. Public health guidance will be followed to ensure all patrons' health and safety, so please be sure to wear a mask, remain socially distant, and stay home if you are not feeling well.

Yours in Service,


Pinto in the Press

Metro Weekly - ANC Rainbow Caucus Urges DC Council to Pass Law Prohibiting LGBTQ Panic Defenses: In an article published by Metro Weekly this week, Councilmember Pinto discussed her support for the “Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment of 2020.” This legislation will ban the use of the LGBTQ panic defense, a legal strategy used to defend a perpetrator of violence crimes against LGBTQIA+ community members in the District of Columbia.

“This legal strategy frequently draws on stigmas particular to the LGBTQ+ community, their sexualities or genders to justify horrific violence against these individuals. The defense is rooted in homophobia and transphobia,” said Councilmember Pinto. “Let me say categorically that there is no place for any type of crime in the district and there are certainly no place for bias-motivated hate crimes in our city. But this important bill no longer will defendants be able to justify, excuse or mitigate their violent and egregious, unacceptable conduct with this bill.”

To read the full article on Metro Weekly's website, click here.

The Georgetown Hoya - "Ward 2 Councilmember Pinto (LAW ’17) Discusses Plans for Term, COVID-19 Recovery": Councilmember Pinto also spoke with the Georgetown Hoya recently about the District’s recent COVID recovery efforts, how she is championing criminal justice reform efforts, and her plans to help improve public safety and education and increase access to feminine hygiene products in the upcoming council period.

“First front of mind continues to be COVID-19 recovery, making sure that our community has access to quick and accessible and free testing, ensuring that we have access to vaccines once those become available next month, making sure that our workers have access to extended unemployment benefits and providing additional assistance to our small local businesses,” said Councilmember Pinto.

To read the full article, click here.

In the Community

Menstrual Hygiene and Education with the George Washington Univeristy UNICEF Club: Last week, Councilmember Pinto joined the George Washington University UNICEF club to discuss menstrual hygiene and education and her efforts to expand access to feminine hygiene products in District schools and throughout our city. "No one thinks twice about providing free toilet paper in public & private bathrooms," said Councilmember Pinto. "But the idea of providing free feminine hygiene products is still revolutionary and is often met with pushback. The lack of accessibility to menstrual products in our city must be remedied."

This year, Councilmember Pinto joined At-large Councilmember David Grosso in co-introducing Bill 23-0887, the “Expanding Access to Period Products of Act of 2020” to provide free products in District public and public charter schools. A public hearing was held this month, but the legislation is not likely to be passed before the end of the current council period this December. Councilmember Pinto looks forward to re-introducing this legislation in Council Period 24 and working with stakeholders on this very important issue.

DowntownDC Momentum Awards: Each year, the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) hosts the Downtown DC Momentum Awards to honor “the people, places, and projects” that have made Downtown DC a great place to live, work, and play.

“As I reflect on the success of this amazing group of honorees, I cannot help but think of the many ways that I have been inspired and influenced to lead in my role as the Ward 2 Councilmember,” said Councilmember Pinto. “As I prepare for my upcoming term beginning in January 2021. I am eager to build upon our hard work since entering office last summer.”

To learn more about the Downtown DC Momentum Awards and see this year’s honorees, visit:

Visiting with ANC 2E and 2F: This week, Councilmember Pinto completed her autumn ANC tour with a stop at monthly meeting for ANC 2E and 2F. During the meetings, Councilmember Pinto expressed her recent legislation being voted on at the Council and provide an update on her community outreach efforts and plans for the upcoming year. At the meeting for ANC 2E, Councilmember Pinto also introduced Perkins Eastman, the architecture firm leading efforts to evaluate the revitalization of the Jelleff Recreation Center. Perkins Eastman plans to engage the community for input and those opportunities will be shared in future newsletters.

Giving Tuesday: On Tuesday, December 1, Councilmember Pinto joined millions around the globe in celebrating #GivingTuesday, by highlighting a few organizations that help make our Ward 2 a great place to live, work, and visit.

To learn about what these organizations do, click here.

Legislative Update

This week, Councilmember Pinto introduced Bill 23-1011, the "Minor Consent to Healthcare for HIV and AIDS Regulations Amendment Act of 2020," to increase access to medical care for minors seeking treatment of HIV and AIDS, help to erase harmful stigmas, and increase public health education. The legislation would also direct the health care provider to seek reimbursement directly from the insurer and exempts the sales of in-home HIV tests from taxation. “We know that HIV and AIDS can and does affect minors. While there are limitations on the purchase of home test kits at the Federal level, the District is a leader in access to health care and this legislation helps minors access important services for HIV and AIDS. It is time that we make HIV and AIDS health services directly available to minors to help prevent the spread of HIV through information and better healthcare access,” said Councilmember Pinto.

Councilmember Pinto also introduced the to honor the memory of Matthew Shepard, a college student killed in 1998 due to his sexual orientation, on what would have been his 44th birthday and all individuals who fell victim to trans and homophobic acts of violence. This resolution was passed unanimously.

For more information on Bill 23-1011 and our ceremonial resolution, see our press release from this week.

The end of Council Period 23 is near, and during this week’s legislative meeting, Councilmember Pinto voted to advance a number of legislative measures before they “expire” and have to be re-introduced in the next council period which begins in January 2021 (learn more about the legislative process here).

Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform:

  • Bill 23-923, "Helping Children Impacted by Parental Incarceration Amendment Act of 2020", which requires the Office on Returning Citizen Affairs to submit to the Mayor and Council a comprehensive needs assessment and a strategic plan outlining the District’s will meet the social, emotional, economic, educational, housing, health, mental health, and other needs of children whose parents are incarcerated.

Social and Economic Equality:

  • Bill 23-122, "Cashless Retailers Prohibition Act of 2020", prohibits retail establishments from discriminating against cash as a form of payment, including charging different prices to customers depending on their payment method.

COVID Relief for District Workers:

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Testing Sites:

  • Nationals Park is now open as a new testing site, Monday through Friday, from 2:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. You can get tested in the GEICO Garage (located at 16 N Street S.E.).
  • Firehouse testing sites will continue to operate from noon until 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
  • Insurance information is now being collected from those who have health insurance. Please provide your insurance information when you pre-register online, and you will not need to show your insurance card at the site; you will not be charged a copay. Testing remains free, and those without insurance or proof of insurance will not be turned away or denied testing. However, by providing your insurance information, you can help the District preserve resources and allow for them to be allocated to other COVID response and recovery efforts.


  • This week, Mayor Bowser announced $10 Million in Housing Stabilization Grants to support the District's affordable & small housing providers. Rent arrears from April 1, 2020, through November 30, 2020, will be paid by the city to housing providers in an 80:20 split with the District contributing 80% of the rent, up to $2,000 per unit per month, and the housing provider forgiving the rest. Applications opened on December 1, will close on December 11, and will be assessed on a rolling basis. The Coronavirus Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) will also begin accepting applications in January. For more information, visit

Business Grants:

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development previously announced the launch of the Bridge Fund, a $100 million investment in businesses and workers grappling with the COVID-19 public health emergency in the hospitality, entertainment, and retail sectors. And at least $7.5 Million of The Bridge Fund is set aside for resident-owned, minority-owned, and woman-owned businesses. To learn more, visit  

Here is a situational update on the District of Columbia's Phase 2 status:


The District of Columbia's COVID-19 Vaccination Plan: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) required all states and territories to submit an interim plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution on October 16, 2020. The District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health) has developed a plan and continues to work with the federal government and local partners to ensure that a distribution plan is in place when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.

For updates, residents should check periodically.

A copy of the District’s draft vaccination plan can be found here, with dissemination and allocation information beginning on page 23. Please note that this document is subject to change as we learn more about the vaccines and determine the best ways to distribute them.

New Mobile App for Contact Tracing Available for Android and iPhone Users: DC Health has launched a voluntary app that will notify those who have come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. All iPhone users who have completed the latest operating system upgrade do not need to download any applications, however. After completing the update, iPhone users can visit the general settings tab labeled "Exposure Notifications" and set up alerts. All Android users will need to download the DC CAN app and follow the prompts. Everyone is encouraged to use a notification system to aid contract tracing efforts and help to reduce the spread of the virus. For more information on the new mobile app, visit


The Department of Parks and Recreation Wants to Hear from You: The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is undergoing the process to rewrite its Master Plan, a document that will look holistically at all parks and recreational opportunities in the District of Columbia and help us to establish and meet short-, medium-, and long-term goals and strategies. The document will also guide DPR’s future investments and programming decisions for the next 20 years.

DPR will also collaborate with the District of Columbia Public Schools and the National Park Service to address the community needs identified throughout the process. To help determine the priorities and direction of this Master Plan, DPR invites residents to take the Ready2Play Citywide Survey, which can be found at The survey takes just 10 minutes to complete and closes on December 20.

Dupont Circle Holiday Pop-up: The Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets (HDCMS) will hold its 4th annual Holiday Pop-up tomorrow, Saturday, December 5th! Please stop by to support small and local retailers around Dupont Circle and inside the Dupont Underground. Please keep all public health guidance in mind, avoid large crowds, and maintain a safe social distance. Come rain or shine! To learn more about HDCMS Holiday Pop-up, visit:

The Downtown D.C. Holiday Market: The DowntownDC Business Improvement District's (BID) 16th annual Downtown Holiday Market is underway and will continue through the end of the month. This year's market is bigger than ever, spanning two entire blocks of F Street N.W., from 7th to 9th Streets N.W.

The Downtown Holiday Market will operate daily through Wednesday, Dec. 23 from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Shoppers will be able to enjoy food from a variety of local vendors and enjoy various interactive digital activities as well as livestreamed entertainment.

High contact surfaces around the Market will also be sanitized throughout the day and measures will be taken to adhere to public health guidance.

General Information:

- Dates: Friday, November 20 - Monday, December 23 (closed Thanksgiving Day)

- Times: 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

- Location: F Street from 7th and 9th Streets N.W.

- For more information on the market, visit:

Getting (Your Home) Winter Ready: Are you ready to take the first steps toward saving energy and reducing your energy bills this winter? If so, the DC Public Service Commission is here to help. Click here to visit the #WinterReadyDC webpage and complete the form to request a free weatherization kit that includes door and window weather stripping, foam pipe insulation, foam switch and outlet gaskets, and a window insulation shrink kit.

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