Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) announced today that they will reintroduce their Federal Police Camera and Accountability Act, which would require uniformed federal police officers, including U.S. Capitol Police, to wear body cameras and have dashboard cameras in police vehicles. Last Congress, their bill was included in the House-passed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. The District of Columbia and Fairfax County both require officers to wear body cameras and have dashboard cameras in marked vehicles.
“There is an urgent need for this bill,” Norton said. “Capitol Police tried to stop last week’s mob attack on the Capitol, but without body cameras, we have been forced to rely on social media streams, cameras in the Capitol and pubic reporting to learn what happened. The events at Lafayette Square last year, where U.S. Park Police and other federal police officers forcibly removed peaceful protestors so the President could hold a photo op, is another recent example of why our bill is needed. Body and dashboard cameras have long been used by local police and are appreciated by both officers and the public. There is no reason federal police officers should not also be using body and dashboard cameras.”
“Consider that following a violent invasion of the United States Capitol, one of the most sacred places in our country, investigators were using cell phone footage taken by the attackers to identify them. It is 2021 – federal officers should all be wearing body cameras, period,” said Rep. Beyer. “Civil rights protests and demands for justice this summer brought attention to the need for better transparency by federal law enforcement, and we will continue to find new ways where this deficiency does harm until Congress fixes it. That was true in 2017 following the still-unexplained killing of Bijan Ghaisar, and it is true now.”
Norton and Beyer originally introduced their bill following the November 2017 fatal shooting of unarmed 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police. Ghaisar was fatally shot in his car by Park Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, after he fled a car crash in the District and was pursued by officers down George Washington Parkway. Footage of the shooting was released by the Fairfax County Police Department, which captured it on a cruiser’s dashboard camera. Without that footage, Ghaisar’s family and the public would have had no access to the circumstances surrounding Ghaisar’s death.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today congratulated his departing Chief of Staff, Tanya Bradsher, who was appointed by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as Senior Director for Partnerships and Global Engagement on the National Security Council. Beyer also announced staffing changes as a result of her departure.
“Everyone who knows Tanya knows she is a wonderful person who is bound for greatness. I wish her all the best as she continues her already-storied career of service to this country. I can’t fault President-elect Biden for stealing my Chief of Staff, he showed excellent judgment in hiring her. I will feel safer knowing that Tanya is playing this important role on the National Security Council, but I also hope that she visits us on the Hill, because we will miss her.”
Beyer announced that his Acting Chief of Staff Zach Cafritz, who had previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director, would take over as Chief of Staff, with Policy Advisor Kate Schisler being promoted to Legislative Director.
“In addition to celebrating Tanya’s appointment, I can also share the good news that even after her departure my office will be in extremely capable hands. Zach and Kate are talented, creative, experienced, and wise counselors, and I appreciate their continued service to Virginia’s 8th District. I am so proud of my team, and look forward to what we will accomplish in the time to come.”
Bradsher joined Beyer as Chief of Staff in 2019 following years of service in the U.S. Army, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Council, and had been on leave while serving as an advisor on the Biden-Harris Transition. Cafritz and Schisler are Capitol Hill veterans with years of experience, having been with Beyer since he took office and previously with Beyer’s predecessor James P. Moran.
Details from the Transition’s announcement of Bradsher’s appointment follow below:
Tanya Bradsher, Senior Director for Partnerships and Global Engagement
Tanya Bradsher is the National Security Agency lead on the Biden-Harris Transition Team. Prior to her role on transition, she served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Don Beyer. Bradsher served as the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama-Biden administration, led Veteran and Military Family outreach in the Office of Public Engagement, and served as the Assistant Press Secretary on the National Security Council. Bradsher is an Iraq war veteran who served 20 years in the United States Army and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Bradsher was born in Virginia, is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and The George Washington University. She lives in Virginia with her husband and three daughters.
“The National Security Council plays a critical role in keeping our nation safe and secure. These crisis-tested, deeply experienced public servants will work tirelessly to protect the American people and restore America’s leadership in the world. They will ensure that the needs of working Americans are front and center in our national security policymaking, and our country will be better for it,” said President-elect Joe Biden.
“This outstanding team of dedicated public servants will be ready to hit the ground running on day one to address the transnational challenges facing the American people — from climate to cyber. They reflect the very best of our nation and they have the knowledge and experience to help build our nation back better for all Americans,” said Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“I am proud to announce that these incredibly accomplished individuals will be joining the National Security Council. They will bring a wide range of perspectives to tackling the defining challenges of our time, and I thank them for their willingness to serve their country,” said incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today issued the following statement after violent insurrectionists invaded the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power:
“Donald Trump is a danger to our democracy. I continue to support his impeachment and removal from office, and am looking carefully at new articles of impeachment being drafted and offered by my colleagues. Impeachment, however, would require the cooperation of Senate Republicans who have always protected Trump in the past. The 25th Amendment can only be invoked by the Vice President with the concurrence of the Cabinet.
“Congress must ensure Trump’s removal from office by the swiftest and surest method available: confirmation of the American people’s will as expressed in the 2020 election. I look forward to completing the certification of that election as soon as possible, and demand that my colleagues immediately drop their cynical, destructive, and antidemocratic efforts to overturn the election results which incited today’s attempts at violent insurrection. Democracy must and shall prevail.”
OrthoVirginia is pleased to announce the acquisition of Optimal Physical Therapy in Arlington, VA. This merger allows more continuity of care for patients as well as improves access to physical therapy services.
This location is the 10th OrthoVirginia physical therapy office in Northern Virginia and is open Monday – Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The office is conveniently located above the Rosslyn Metro Station.
“Optimal Physical Therapy and OrthoVirginia share a common mission of returning patients to activities they enjoy,” said Anne Harshey, Physical Therapy Director. “This merger of our practices allows us to achieve that shared vision through increasing access to our services.”
Dr. Ben Kittredge, Regional Vice President of OrthoVirginia – Northern Virginia, agrees. “Physical therapy is a critical component of a patient’s recovery journey. We strive to make our services available where our patients live, work and play so that they can return to activities they enjoy sooner.”
The office is easily accessible through metro services. Parking is also available in nearby garages. The office is open Monday – Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Due to COVID-19, each patient will be asked to wear a face mask and complete a quick screening questionnaire before their appointment.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today issued the following statement after the release of a recording of a January 2nd call between President Donald Trump, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and their attorneys and staff:
“The recording released yesterday establishes beyond a doubt that Donald Trump used the power of his office to threaten election officials, and to coerce them into committing criminal acts to overturn the election results. This clearly warrants a criminal investigation.
“The President previously held numerous meetings and calls with election officials and lawmakers in other states where he attempted to negate election results. Those conversations should be examined by investigators to determine whether Trump engaged in additional criminal acts.
“President Trump also has not acted alone in his attempts to overturn the election. Investigators should scrutinize the actions of White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Senator Lindsey Graham, and any others who there is reason to believe may have been party to criminal acts intended to change election results.
“This recording makes Nixon’s ‘smoking gun’ tape sound tame, but that tape captured only one part of a larger criminal conspiracy. Donald Trump must be held accountable for his illegal acts and his attacks on the Constitution. Nothing less than a criminal investigation will serve.”
Rep. Don Beyer this week introduced the COVID-19 Long Haulers Act, which would authorize and fund research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PICORI) to benefit so-called “long haulers,” people who experience long term effects of COVID-19 infections. From the beginning of the pandemic medical researchers have documented a wide array of lingering conditions affecting patients long after they recover from initial infection, but leading public health officials say more research is needed to fully understand and respond to the phenomenon.
“Over ten months after coronavirus was first documented in the United States, some of the worst suffering is still being borne by people who got sick and recovered from their initial infections early in the year,” said Beyer. “Given the alarming pace of the virus’ spread right now, we may see significant proliferation of individuals suffering long term effects of coronavirus infections. We need to do everything we can as soon as we can to help those people, and to get a handle on this problem. My bill would make major investments in research funding at leading institutions, and make this a major priority for American medical research.”
Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which has partial jurisdiction over health care. He previously led successful efforts to reauthorize and fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), spearheaded a House push to fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and is the sponsor of legislation to ensure data transparency at the CDC during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Text of the COVID-19 Long Haulers Act is available here.
Clarendon Presbyterian Church (CPC) recently announced that it will continue holding monthly Drive-thru Food and Toiletry Collections to support our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. Since the first Collection in June through the most recent one in December, the community donated the equivalent of 756 brown paper bags of groceries – an estimated value of $30,000.
The Drive-thru Collections are held on the second Saturday of every month (weather permitting) from 9:00 AM to Noon, with curbside drop-off outside the church and masks and social distancing required. The next event will be January 9.
Food donations will continue supporting Bridges to Independence in Clarendon. Bridges operates an emergency shelter with ten one- and two-bedroom apartments and can accommodate up to approximately 14 families with children at a time. Bridges also provides support to more than 40 families that recently moved out of the shelter into independent living. Priority food items include: Rice, cooking oil, boxed cereal, applesauce, juice, packaged healthy kids’ snacks, pasta and pasta sauces, ramen, canned beans and vegetables, and other dry food items.
Toiletry donations will continue supporting Residential Program Center (RPC) on Columbia Pike. RPC is a 44-bed shelter for men and women, run in partnership with Arlington County Department of Human Services. RPC also offers a day program providing showers, laundry facilities and meals to drop-in visitors. Priority toiletry items include: Razors (men’s and women’s), toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower curtains, queen size bed sheets, deodorant (regular and travel size), new men’s underwear (XL, 2XL, 3XL), new women’s underwear, new socks, combs and brushes, flip flops for showers, and bar soaps.
Clarendon Presbyterian Church is located at 1305 North Jackson Street, Arlington, VA 22201. If you have questions about Collection events and donations, or if you’d like to volunteer to help staff the events, please contact Blair Moorehead at [email protected] or (703) 527-9513.
Arlington Thrive met an unprecedented wave of requests for direct emergency assistance in 2020, as dual pandemic and economic crises threatened both health and home for Arlington County’s most vulnerable residents. The nonprofit organization that has provided direct emergency financial support for more than 45 years answered requests for help with crisis cash that was seven times greater than the amount provided in fiscal 2019.
“The need is greater, but so is our community’s generosity,” said Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of Arlington Thrive. “Even though requests for help have eclipsed anything we’ve seen in the past, we’ve also seen the investment from Arlington County leadership and a spirit of giving rise to meet the unspeakable pain and desperation that too many of our neighbors are experiencing.”
Donations to Arlington Thrive more than tripled to exceed $50,000 on Giving Tuesday alone.
Arlington Thrive’s ability to provide rapid, emergency financial support in a crisis helps neighbors pay back rent, make car repairs, pay for Internet access so children can attend school, or cover a medical visit that protects individuals, families and the community. Since April of this year Thrive has provided more than $5 million is assistance to 1,300 families and individuals, a dramatic increase from the $805,000 Thrive provided to families and individuals during the same period last year. Typical requests to Arlington Thrive used to be for one or two months rent but since the pandemic now extend to six or seven months, with the average amount of a request climbing from $246 last year to $1,029 in the fiscal year that began in July.
“With the eviction moratorium slated to expire at the end of the year, requests for our assistance will grow even more. We are grateful to our supporters and Arlington County leaders who understand how important the crisis cash that Arlington Thrive is as part of the social safety net. But we will need even more support to meet the dire needs of our community to help families and even save a life,” said Scott Friedrich, President of the Arlington Thrive Board of Directors.
Crisis cash is a relatively small investment to keep individuals and families out of the cold and safe from disease, protect children who are already challenged by remote learning, and give people who’ve lost a job through no fault of their own a stable address to find new employment. Without this rapid emergency support, families and individuals often have to turn to predatory lenders who charge exorbitant interest, plunging people into further financial crisis from which it can be almost impossible to recover.
The Arlington-based nonprofit organization, Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT) announced their latest financial contribution from the Arlington Women’s Civic Alliance (AWCA) to support LLT’s leadership training and college readiness programs. The $8,000 one-time grant from AWCA will contribute to LLT’s leadership and college-bound initiatives for more than 60 girls in grades 8-11 during the 2020-21 school year. The grant is one of two awards given in 2020 to organizations that align with AWCA’s mission of providing programmatic and financial support, as well as volunteer services to Arlington community projects.
“Latinas Leading Tomorrow is honored to receive this grant from the Arlington Women’s Civic Alliance to support our ELITE leadership program which encourages young Latinas to excel in high school and go on to earn a college degree,” said Madeline LaSalle, founder and Board of Directors Chair. “The impact of our ELITE program is gaining momentum as many of our LLT alumni are returning as college graduates and young professionals eager to share their stories and serve as role models and mentors to our young students. It means a great deal for our program to have the support from AWCA and women leaders who are invested in our community’s future.”
The ELITE leadership program addresses the growing needs of first-generation, college-bound, high-achieving Latina high school students through leadership development programs that connect students with Latina role models from a broad range of professions to guide students through the introduction of career options, self-discovery, cultural awareness, and help with the college application process. Overall, LLT has served approximately 1,300 students since its inception in 2004, and more than 150 students participate in LLT programs each year. Graduates from our areas high schools’ class of 2020 now attend George Mason University, Marymount University, Northern Virginia Community College, Old Dominion University, and Virginia Tech, among other universities.
The AWCA grant will specifically be used for:
- The E.L.I.T.E. Academy (Exemplifying Leadership in a Team Environment): A 10-session program held at Georgetown University that offers workshops and mentoring activities for 22 Latina students on topics such as leadership, business and social etiquette, personal branding, communication techniques, resume development, interview skills, public speaking, and financial literacy. The academy participants also take part in the College Connections Initiative.
- The College Connections Initiative: This program includes visits to selective four-year universities and Ivy League institutions for 40 high-achieving Latina students and their parents to encourage them to consider these as viable options during the college application process.
Candy Fowler, AWCA President said “The AWCA is delighted to support the efforts of Latinas Leading Tomorrow to expand the educational and career horizons of young Latinas in Arlington. Latinas Leading Tomorrow has an excellent track record of providing the support and experiences these young woman can build on to pursue their goals.”
Established in 2012 as a 501(c)3 organization at Wakefield High School and since then, has expanded to serve Latina students through its C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities to Reach Excellence) program at additional schools in Arlington (Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Yorktown High School) and Alexandria (George Washington Middle School and T.C. Williams High School). In addition, LLT offers a STEM mentoring program for middle school students also known as “Latina Labs,” that provides hands-on activities centered on STEM careers with opportunities to meet and learn from Latina professionals in STEM fields.
In what has been perhaps the most challenging semester for U.S. higher educational institutions in recent memory, Marymount University has successfully navigated the Fall 2020 academic semester as planned without any disruptions to its hybrid learning format or in-person living.
From mid-August, when residential students first started to move back to campus, to today, only 86 positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified among Marymount community members. The combined population of students, faculty and staff is approximately 4,000, meaning that the infection rate University-wide over a four-month period is approximately just two percent.
Following reopening decisions made in June, in-person class activities were finished by Thanksgiving break, with all remaining course requirements and final exams completed online. With COVID-19 cases rising once again at a high rate across the country, this plan was designed to prevent increased spread of the virus on campus due to holiday travel.
“In my view, especially for a university located in the populous Washington, D.C., metro area, this is a success story worth sharing – and it’s thanks to all of our community members for understanding their roles in keeping each other safe,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “Our low rate of infection and continuous operations throughout the fall speak volumes in support of our preparation and determination to fulfill our mission – to provide a high-quality academic experience that opens doors for students and helps them grow personally and professionally. With the current health, economic and political challenges we are facing nationally and worldwide, our mission has never been more important.”
Ordinary campus life at colleges and universities everywhere has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, which has redefined so many aspects of how these institutions operate – from academics to admissions, athletics, student life and more. In light of this unprecedented challenge, schools have taken unique approaches to continuing the education of our nation’s future leaders while still maintaining their safety amidst a pandemic – some opening fully for the fall, some operating completely virtual and others staking out a middle ground.
To prepare for the “new normal” brought about by COVID-19, Marymount’s curriculum was adapted to a “hy-flex” format, in which both in-person and remote course delivery options were utilized to achieve a safe and optimum learning environment.
“Despite the pandemic and its challenges, the semester has been successful largely because of our faculty and staff and their hard work,” said Dr. Hesham El-Rewini, Provost of Marymount University. “Their dedication and commitment to our students has been unmatched, and has allowed our students to learn and continue towards graduation in the mode of learning they are most comfortable with during these times.”
Strict social distancing and face covering rules were implemented, and physical spaces such as residential living spaces and classrooms were restructured to accommodate for physical distancing guidelines. For example, the University’s largest classroom space – the Ballston Auditorium – previously had 206 available seats. To maintain social distancing, however, that number was trimmed to 18, and it now seats 8.7 percent of what it used to seat.
Following the end of in-person classes this semester, it has been confirmed that no positive COVID-19 cases at Marymount were transmitted in classroom settings.
Marymount’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts also emphasized rapid testing and proactive contact tracing in order to stem the spread and isolate any clusters of cases that could appear. When one such cluster formed in October, the University partnered with the Arlington County Public Health Department (ACPHD) to assess the number of students on campus who may have been asymptomatic for COVID-19 through targeted testing. After nearly 220 tests of mostly residential students were taken, only six returned as positive.
The lack of positive cases among faculty and staff at Marymount has been heartening, as well. Since mid-August, only six who have been on campus have tested positive, with no hospitalizations to date.
“Keeping both our students and our workforce safe and healthy has always been our top priority, and these results are a testament to our proactive efforts to isolate the virus and keep it contained,” explained Dr. William Bisset, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Marymount University. “It is still crucial for all of us to remain vigilant in the form of mask wearing, social distancing and exercising good hand hygiene.”
Marymount’s spring classes are scheduled to begin on January 19, with the hybrid class format continuing for the foreseeable future. In order to begin the semester in a safe and secure manner, the University intends to test all student residents, student athletes, commuters registered for in-person classes, faculty who teach in-person classes and identified staff members for COVID-19 prior to the start of classes. In addition, Marymount is working on a campus plan for vaccination whenever it becomes available to higher educational institutions.
About Marymount University
Marymount University is a Catholic university with its main campus in Arlington, Va. Marymount offers students a unique mix of liberal arts, technology and specialized educational opportunities through a variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a wide range of disciplines. Marymount has about 3,300 students enrolled, representing approximately 45 states and 78 countries. The University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as having one of the most internationally diverse student bodies in the nation.