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Monday, October 24, 2011

Poet-athlete performs at Lights on Afterschool, chats with Mayor Gray and Councilmembers

Written by Cory Chimka
Program Director

Last week DC SCORES joined one million Americans and more than 7,500 communities in celebrating after-school programs with the 12th annual Lights On Afterschool.

Poet-athlete London H. of Noyes Education Campus recited his poem “Bullies” on the dais of DC’s city Hall, the John A. Wilson Building, as a part of the nationwide day of advocacy and action highlighting the importance of access to high quality enriching after-school programs for all children between the school dismissal bell and the dinner bell.

London’s performance was part of an agenda that included remarks from District Mayor Vincent Gray, City Council Chairman Kwame Brown, Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services Beebe Oterro, and President and CEO of the Washington DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation Ellen London. The event was sponsored by the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates.

London impressed the mayor during a Q&A session by asking Gray about his April arrest during a DC statehood protest. Gray’s spirited answer included removing a $5 bill from his pocket and waving it as a metaphorical visual aid representing the city’s need for budget autonomy.

Not to be outdone by Gray, Council Chair Brown promised to pass along London’s personal greeting to President Barack Obama during their next meeting!

London also enjoyed a one-on-one chat with his Ward 7 representative Councilmember Yvette Alexander (left), who asked if she could count on London’s vote in eight years.

London shared the stage with students from Capital City Public Charter School, City Dance and Sasha Bruce House.

“London was so excited and couldn't stop talking about the event,” said London’s mom Ebony. “He really enjoys reciting his poem and will jump at any opportunity to do so.”

The event was just one of several poetry readings London is taking on this fall. Recently, he read his poem at the opening of a new Starbucks store (and has become a Starbucks regular and huge fan of its hot chocolate). And this afternoon, London is heading to The Shakespeare Theatre to rehearse for the Catalogue for Philanthropy’s Nov. 7 Inspiration to Action Kick-off.

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