The evening of Thursday, Dec. 5, the community gathered to celebrate the holidays and the many amazing Ward 6 individuals and organizations at the 2019 Brickie Awards. They gathered in the beautiful new DC Waters Building (125 O St. SE), giving everyone a chance to get by security and get a look at the brand-new headquarters.
The awards are an annual celebration of the people, places, and organizations that make the Ward 6 community great. Established 13 years ago as the ‘Livable Walkable Awards’ by then-Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, the event was nicknamed ‘The Brickies’ by Hill Rag Editor Andrew Lightman because the awards are presented as engraved bricks.
The winners are selected based on their contributions from a wide range of submissions, including nearly 100 nominations from Ward 6 residents submitted online. Recipients of this year’s Brickie Awards included
Neighbor Award: Christine Spencer, President, James Creek Residents Council
For years, Christine Spencer has been an advocate and organizer for her neighbors living in James Creek, an affordable housing community in Southwest DC of more than 250 homes. As the President of the Residents Council, Christine organizes holiday meals, ice cream socials, community meetings, and public safety walks. No visit to James Creek is complete until Christine has taken Councilmember Allen on a quick walkthrough to highlight needs or challenges. And when a tragic shooting took place this past summer, Christine organized the community and instituted monthly public safety walks alongside Councilmember Allen’s office and her neighbors. Christine has worked to bring on-site mental health professionals, organized community food drives, including holiday dinner distributions, school supply drives, and more.
Community Organization: CRYSP DC
When the Fields at RFK finally opened earlier this year, it was the culmination of more than a decade of hard work by several neighbors who had banded together to urge the city to do something with the oceans of asphalt at RFK. Now more than 20 acres of empty parking lot have been converted into a beautiful set of athletic fields that are in use every weeknight and packed on the weekends. But creating these fields was no small task – and it was the hard work of CRYSP DC – long known as the Capitol Hill Riverside Youth Sports Park — who kept up the fight to make something out of nothing. With the fields now open and active, CRYSP DC has been named the recipient of the 2019 Community Organization Brickie.
Business: Steadfast Supply
Founded in October 2016 in Navy Yard, Steadfast Supply is the latest venture by Virginia Arrisueño, who has rallied together the makers of DC and created a vibrant marketplace for local products. She has been a strong advocate for Councilmember Allen’s Made In DC legislation, and has helped create a brand for all DC-based makers. Steadfast Supply remains a space constantly remaking itself and bringing together makers from all backgrounds and practices and serving as a community hub in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, leading as an innovator demonstrating the many ways small and local businesses can be nimble, creative, and add unique flavor to our neighborhoods.
Civic Pride: Heather Schoell
The tireless organizer of Capitol Hill’s beloved annual Hilloween celebration at Eastern Market for the past five years, Heather Schoell is being recognized with this year’s Brickie Award for Civic Pride. Hilloween brings together thousands of neighbors for a family-friendly celebration of Halloween. Few Ward 6 neighbors are as active and involved in so many organizations as Heather. A supporter of community events big and small, Heather volunteers for her neighborhood schools (especially Maury ES, Eliot-Hine MS, and Eastern HS), Capitol Hill Restoration Society, Capitol Hill Community Foundation, Everyone Home DC, Ward 6 litter clean-ups, and is a dedicated supporter of DC Statehood. Whether writing for the Hill Rag or helping a neighbor find the perfect new home, Heather believes in building community, friendships, and civic pride along the way.
Public Service: Ana the Shad & Wendy the Waterdrop, DOEE & DC Water
Ana the Shad and Wendy the Waterdrop (and their respective agencies — DC Department of Energy & Environment and DC Water) deserve enormous credit for the tremendous improvements we’ve seen in the health of the Anacostia River (it’s right there in Ana’s name!). The Anacostia River is well on its way to the goal of being swimmable and fishable in the coming years, thanks to massive infrastructure projects diverting storm and sewage runoff, as well as a number of smaller efforts to prevent pollution and help DC residents reconnect with the river. Ana and Wendy are tireless cheerleaders for the health of the river and represent the hard work and dedication of many.
Learn more about the Brickies by visiting charlesallenward6.com