Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living
Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

In celebration of Black History Month, my team highlighted your stories the entire month of February. Stories like Robert “Bob” King, our city’s longest-serving ANC commissioner; or like Sandra Bears, member of the DC Senior’s Cameo Club and a founding member of the Jewels, a 1960’s music group that toured with James Brown. Their stories and so many others are among the many ways our oldest residents make Washington, D.C., the great city it is.

As we enter Women’s History Month, I’m excited for us to share even more stories of how D.C. women like Virginia Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl and Vanilla Beane of Bené Millinery & Bridal Supplies have paved the way. But business owners, political leaders, and famous singers aren’t the only people who’ve made history in the District.

Many of you are making history today. You’re making history by stepping up during a difficult time, reaching out to a neighbor just to check-in and say hello. You’re connecting with others in any way that you can, while keeping you and your neighbors and family safe. During challenging times, being a good neighbor is an extraordinary act, just as important to the community, as being the first, the best, or the greatest. Checking in on an old friend you haven’t heard from in a while, stopping by to say hello to a neighbor you usually wave to from afar, sending a note, making a call, or delivering a meal are all extraordinary acts that will become a part of our stories when we look back on this time period in our city.

Today, we are all bearing witness to history and in our own way, we’re contributing our own stories for generations to come. Stories about the ways in which we serve and love one another, even when we can’t be together in person. While we celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of so many who came before us, and those who continue to pave the way today, let’s also celebrate the incredible contributions you’re making in our community with your families, your friends, and your neighbors. You’re keeping these connections strong during a time when it’s so easy to lose touch.

If you’re feeling alone and disconnected during this time, reach out to my office at 202-724-5626. We can help you get involved in activities, or connect you to someone just to chat.

At DACL, we celebrate history every day by celebrating you! And we want to keep sharing your stories.

Tell us how you live boldly and how you’re helping all of us thrive together. If you’re interested in sharing your story, please email my team at

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Vacancies on D.C. Commission on Aging

Are you interested in serving your community as an aging advocate? The District of Columbia Commission on Aging is a citizen’s advisory group to the Mayor, Council of the District of Columbia, Department of Office Aging and Community Living, and the general public on the needs and concerns of older Washingtonians. The Commissioners serve as advocates on behalf of the District’s more than 120,000 seniors and accomplish their responsibilities through outreach to individuals and institutions, as well as to groups and governments.

The Commission’s 15 members are appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the Council of the District of Columbia.

To apply to become a member, visit the Mayor’s Office of Talents and Appointments website

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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