John A. Wilson Building

Members of the Washington DC Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi spoke Wednesday with members of the D.C. Council and their staffers about issues concerning them.

The visit to the John A. Wilson Building in northwest Washington is a part of the fraternity’s national program to dialogue with lawmakers in their cities and states on issues they have identified as vital.

Gordon Fletcher, a candidate for the Ward 5 council seat and a member of the Washington alumni chapter, spearheaded the event. The Kappas spoke with D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Council members Robert White (D-At Large) and Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) about education, health equity, public safety, small business development, and D.C. statehood.

“I am a resident of Ward 4 and I own a construction business,” said Cornelle Smith, owner/head of operations for CBS Design Development Group LLC. “Eighty percent of all businesses in Washington, D.C. are small businesses. Black small businesses need the support of the District government. We see the same businesses get the contracts.”

White said he agreed with Smith’s concern.

“One of the things I want to do is to preserve Black businesses and see them grow,” the council member said.

White is one of three Democrats challenging Mayor Muriel Bowser for the Democratic nomination on June 21.

Kappa member Rodney Grant, an entertainer and an independent candidate for mayor, spoke to the council members about connecting with the city’s youth population. He said the District government should offer more programs for them.

Another member of the fraternity, Eugene Kinlow, spoke to the group about getting the message about D.C. statehood throughout the country. Kinlow serves as the director of the office of state and federal affairs in the mayor’s executive office.

“It is important that the Washington alumni chapter get the message out about District residents not having full voting rights in the Congress and lacking budget autonomy,” Kinlow said.

After meeting with Mendelson, Pinto, and White, the Kappas proceeded to visit other council members and staffers for further discussions. Fletcher, who served as the chapter’s political and social action chair, said the event was a success.

“We had the chance to engage council members and let them know where we stood when it comes to the city’s policies,” he said.

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