Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Anderson-Walker Organizes Virtual Safety Forum

Prince George’s County Council member Monique Anderson-Walker has kept herself busy, even virtually.

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the majority-Black jurisdiction, Anderson-Walker helped organize a March 25 virtual community session with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission on proposed plans to redevelop land near Henson Creek in Fort Washington.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, she put together a “Moving Forward” series on May 28 in coping with the potentially deadly virus.

In the meantime, she participates in council meetings, runs a commercial brokerage firm at National Harbor and since March 17 has helped provide at least 100,000 meals in her District 8, which include the communities of Camp Springs, Fort Washington and Oxon Hill.

The 20744 zip code in Fort Washington remains among the state’s top 15 jurisdictions for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

“We are just trying to make sure people get their basic needs and are safe,” Anderson-Walker said. “This is all teamwork. We are trying to rise, even among this pandemic.”

She received more help this month to kick off a weeklong community forum with a focus on four topics: road safety, domestic violence, sex trafficking and gun violence.

Each pre-recorded session last no more than 35 minutes with statistics, statements from regional lawmakers and advice on each topic.

The first subject became the first public project Anderson-Walker launched last year called the #DrivingItHome initiative with a focus to improve driving in the county.

State officials marked Route 210 in her district as the most dangerous road in Maryland because of the road-related crashes and vehicular deaths.

Brandi Bridgett spoke about the tragic death of her husband, Eric, who was killed in 2013 by a driver who hit him as he walked along Kirby Road in Clinton. Eric Bridgett, a former Marine, walked as he left his job as a cook.

“That day change my life and the life of my three small children forever,” Bridgett said in the video. “Today, it’s still an unsolved case. We have been through deployments. We’ve been through Afghanistan [and] Iraq. You’re walking home from work and someone took you from me. How does that happen?”

The domestic violence video featured information and signs of abuse from two individuals with Community Crisis Services, Gabrielle Parson and Maya Brown.

County officials and domestic violence advocates have said the virus increased more domestic violence calls and incidents due to stay-at-home orders implemented and some people not labeled essential workers by the state and must work from their residence.

Part of the video explained and highlighted differences between a protective order and an extreme risk protective order, also known as an ERPO.

Parson, a victim services coordinator, said both orders are similar. Besides a current or former spouse, an extreme order can also be filed by a law enforcement officer and a medical professional who has examined the respondent.

Additionally, extreme orders can be filed at the county’s District Court and the commissioner’s office in Upper Marlboro or Hyattsville.

She also suggested for those who file to protective orders make copies in a vehicle, a child’s school or day care, job and even church.

“It’s good that you have an extra copy at the places you visit on a regular basis,” Parson said.

Residents in need of help can call the domestic violence hotline at 301-731-1203.

For more information and to review any of the four sessions, go to Anderson-Walker’s YouTube channel.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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