by Marlene Berlin and Forest Hills Connection
Mayor’s budget would make 4250’s renter 4250’s owner: UDC is now leasing 4250 Connecticut Avenue. It would like to buy the building. If Mayor Bowser gets her way, DC will find the money to do that. During her March 18th “State of the District” address at the UDC Theater of the Arts, Bowser announced her 2020 budget proposal would include funding for UDC’s purchase of 4250 Connecticut and “to begin to revitalize its student-centered campus right here in Van Ness.
150 years of the Howard University School of Law: The law school at 2900 Van Ness Street is celebrating the sesquicentennial of its January 6th, 1869 founding with events looking forward to its next 150 years, including a sold-out alumni gala on Saturday, April 13th. Howard Law has produced a number of distinguished alumni, including Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-New York), who was the keynote speaker at the sesquicentennial convocation on January 7th.
In the wake of Freddie Gray’s death while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department in April 2015, Hutchins worked with colleagues to create “Freddie Gray’s Baltimore,” an innovative eight-week practicum that brought law school professors, elected officials, and civic leaders together with law students to explore the broader historic context that created the West Baltimore community where Gray lived and died.
Hutchins is to begin her term at UDC on April 17th. Shelley Broderick, the previous dean, intends to return to UDC Law to teach after a one-year sabbatical.
“A new scholarly endeavor” at UDC: A new institute explores the intersection of DC history with politics and policy, local and national. DCLine.org covered the Institute of Politics Policy and History’s February kickoff event. Its first panel discussion was on the history and politics of blackface. The second panel, in March, was on the women in the House of Representatives, past and present. IPPH’s next public event, on April 23rd, will compare the economic and political fault lines of the Civil War era and today.
UDC History and politics to intersect at UDC’s commencement: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) will be the commencement speaker and she will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Waters is the first woman and the first African American to chair the House Financial Services Committee. The UDC commencement is Saturday, May 11th at 10 a.m., at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
UDC’s choice for Founders’ Day speaker strikes a nerve: Joshua Lopez made the news last year when he organized a “unity” rally where a speaker (who was not invited, according to Lopez) made anti-semitic remarks and particularly singled out Councilmember Elissa Silverman. Lopez resigned from the DC Public Housing Board and developed a relationship with Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld and his synagogue Ohev Sholom to make amends. He has never apologized to Silverman.
Lopez is also a graduate of UDC, and he was invited to give the keynote speech at the 38th annual Founders’ Day observance, which commemorates the 200th birthday Myrtilla Miner, who established the UDC predecessor “Miner School for Colored Girls” in 1851.
The Washington City Paper reports Council members Mary Cheh and Silberman wrote a letter to UDC President Ron Mason asking that Lopez be disinvited. Council Chair Phil Mendelson also said he would be in touch with the UDC president.
Mason declined on free speech grounds.
UDC stood by decision to have Josh Lopez speak. “We are obligated to allow free speech and intellectual inquiry,” UDC President Ron Mason told Cheh/Silverman pic.twitter.com/LaSbpJPBbC
— Fenit Nirappil (@FenitN) February 22, 2019
Here is a video of the Founders’ Day event. Rabbi Herzfeld introduces Joshua Lopez at 17:15 into the program, and Lopez starts his speech at 19:30 which lasts about 20 minutes. He praises his mother, acknowledges his difficult teenage years when he “lost his way.” And he credits UDC for getting him on the right path, one that led to his accomplishments and the middle class. He mentions Nelson Mandela who prevailed over a hateful society to become president of South Africa.
Near the end of his speech he refers to the controversy over his choice as keynote speaker: “You may open a newspaper one day and see attacks on your character, and they may even try to stop you from speaking… The haters are always going to hate. Never lose your dreams, never lose your spirit and never lose your dreams.”