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

We miss you! We miss seeing you at all of our events, connecting with you in the community, and celebrating with you. This month, I hope you’ll join us for the first-ever Virtual Mayor’s Annual Senior Symposium scheduled for Tuesday, September 22, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. You can join us from your own living room by tuning in to Channel 16, watching online at, or join by phone at 1-844-881-1314.

Normally, we’d all get together in person for a day of entertainment, great food, dancing, fellowship and information sharing, but this year has been anything but normal. So, my team has been working to recreate some of these great experiences into something we can still enjoy together while staying safe at home. We’re excited to celebrate, dance and share information with you. For more details, check out the flyer on the next page.

This month, we’re also celebrating the lives and legacies of our District centenarians. There are nearly 200 District residents 100 or older living in all eight wards of the city, according to the Social Security Administration. We’ve had the privilege of making connections with more than 40 centenarians identified in the community. We’ve learned about their life stories, triumphs, lessons learned and advice, which I’ve found especially helpful during this unprecedented time.

For some, this isn’t their first time experiencing a global pandemic. Mrs. Marillee Asher, an active artist who moved to DC during World War II, was recently in the news for surviving the Spanish Flu in 1918 and surviving COVID-19 this year at 107 years old!

We also connected with Ms. Norine C. Berryman, who was the first woman taxi driver in the District! She’s served her community and her church for most of her life and prides herself on teaching her grandchildren how to do the electric slide!

Mrs. Dorothy Boggess, who moved to D.C. to work for the District’s War Department in 1941, once wrote an article for the Washington Post about the contributions made by African American women who came to D.C. to work during World War II. Mrs. Boggess’ early career is documented in American Dream Deferred: Black Federal Workers in Washington, D.C. 1941-1981, written by Frederick W. Gooding.

Mr. Willie Covington always loved to sing, so in 1947 he joined the National Negro Opera Company (NNOC) and performed and traveled around the country.

And our oldest centenarian, Ms. Dora Sylvia Credle, born July 21, 1911, is known for her kind personality and amazing cooking! Even at 109, she stays very active working around the house and in the community.

We’re looking forward to celebrating the longevity and accomplishments of our centenarians this month, and invite you to follow along on social media at @dcagingnews on Twitter and Instagram September 14 – 25 when we’ll be sharing information on all of our centenarians. You can also view all of the incredible stories online at

As my team continues to look for ways to engage with you, we also want to hear your ideas on new projects, services and programs to combat social isolation and loneliness during the Public Health Emergency. You can complete a short survey on our website at Your feedback will help us create a Request for Applications to fund new and innovative programs in fiscal year 2021.

It’s been a challenging time for all of us, but being able to find new ways to connect with you, with our centenarians and our entire community has been a reminder that no matter our circumstances, we can all find new ways to live boldly — together.

For the latest information on the District Government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please visit

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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