Good morning everyone,
Thank you Chairman Mendelson for your gracious opening remarks, and to all of my Council colleagues – thank you for welcoming me to the Council –I have truly loved working with all of you.
I want to thank my incredibly hardworking team for so diligently working to serve the residents of Ward 2 and our city every single day.
Congratulations to everyone being sworn in today, and I want to extend a special congratulations and welcome to Christina Henderson and Janeese Lewis-George. You are about to enter a collaborative and majestic office. I am so thrilled to be a part of the new woman-majority Council!
Thank you to our Attorney General, Karl Racine, for swearing me in today. I had the great privilege of working for General Racine. I am constantly grateful to have the benefit of your mentorship, your counsel, and your friendship. You have taught me about the injustices persistent in our city, but more importantly how to forge a just path forward.
I am also joined today by my family. My parents James and Dale Pinto, my sister Caren and my brother Nick. You remain my primary pillars of support and encouragement. Thank you for instilling in me the importance of showing up and being involved in your community, listening attentively to alternative viewpoints, and for instilling a deep conviction and commitment to public service.
I pursued this office with the desire to provide solutions to our greatest challenges. This year has shown that government—especially local government—is a vital actor in preserving and protecting its people. I believe that government not only can use its resources to improve lives, but it has the moral obligation to do so. This oath of office renews my commitment to serve the residents of Ward 2 and the entire District of Columbia with fervor, integrity, compassion, and respect.
We all recognize the unprecedented challenges facing Washingtonians in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic. COVID-19 has shaken and reshaped our jobs, healthcare system, children’s education, and daily life. It has been excruciatingly tough, but I have been so inspired by the resilience of our community. People like Austin Naughton, the Chair of the Ward 2 Democrats, who has galvanized individual spirit into collective action to serve or ANC 2E Commissioner Elizabeth Miller who has provided weekly opportunities and guidance for neighbors to support small and local businesses.
We must continue to look forward. To the residents of our city – YOU have stepped up to fulfill your duty. You showed up. You voted. And it is you –– who are empowered to hold us accountable, to create change along with us, and to continue to call us to action. This collective involvement is how we not just look forward, but MOVE forward. How we will ALL be a force for progress.
I know there is no community in the country more involved and engaged in local government than our neighbors inWard 2.From people offering their decades of institutional knowledge, to high schoolWashingtonians sharing their fresh perspectives – the wonderfully engaged residents of Ward 2 offer a shining example for why democratic government works.
It is your call to action that will give me greater voice to take a collective stand to make good on my promises
· to stare fearlessly into the face of racism seen and unseen,
· to take action on socioeconomic inequality
· And make critical investments in economic and educational opportunities in our communities
It is your call to service that demands us to fulfill the promise in the years ahead to
· substantively progress criminal justice reform,
· and to ensure that all residents, even those who have made mistakes, are given the support to re-join and enrich our society
And it is your voices that call us to support our small and local businesses in ways that
· promote racial, gender, and social equity,
· And ensures that our entrepreneurs and business owners not only survive the pandemic, but are supported to thrive once more.
My promise to you—the residents of Ward 2 and the District of Columbia – is:
· To serve as a reliable ally in the fight against racial and social injustice
· To support affordable housing and our neighbors experiencing homelessness and
· To stand with the businesses that serve as the backbone of our economy
· AND To remind everyone that governing and government is much more about collaboration than blind conviction
Our work requires that we uplift our young people whose perspectives we must consider as they are unencumbered by the status quo. Building a strong community is not only about much-needed legislative reform – but it also about the way we SPEAK to one another. To our neighbor, to our opponents, and yes, even with the veil of anonymity behind the protection of social media. Because our words matter.
My pledge to you is to treat you all as my neighbors: to serve, care for, and love you as such. I believe the best way for me fulfill that pledge is captured by the words of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”