Black Lives Matter in Hyattsville’s city park
Hyattsville resident Sage Morgan-Hubbard organized a community event, Family March for Black Lives, on June 28. The march began in Hyattsville’s largest city park and ended at Art Works Now, where participants put their handmade signs on display outside.
Speakers included 8-year-old Hyattsville resident Oliver Larson, who said, “Long ago there was a man named Mr. Magruder. And, he gave this park to the city of Hyattsville. People wanted to honor him, so they named it Magruder Park. … But he was saying, ‘Oh, I only want white people to have access to this park.’”
Larson asked, “Why would we want the park named after a white supremacist?”
He named people he would prefer to honor, including Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, and other speakers at the event, including Hyattsville City Police Department Police Chief Amar Awad and Mayor Candace Hollingsworth. “Even me,” he concluded. “I mean, I’m better than any white supremacist.”
Prince George’s County Council member Jolene Ivey, local rapper and activist Kassim, and singer and poet Dr. Khadijah Ali-Coleman also addressed the families spread across the grass.
Earlier that week, on June 22, Hyattsville Public Information Officer Cindy Zork announced to the H.O.P.E. email group that vandals had stolen one of two bronze plaques bearing William Pinkney Magruder’s name from the stone entryway to the park, damaging the entryway. The city’s Public Works department removed the second plaque, putting it in storage. The city will hold a community discussion to choose a new name for the park, “reflective of its current welcoming, diverse and inclusive use.” This discussion will follow a legal process to amend the park’s deed and remove the racist covenant.
Affordable housing forum
On June 9, the City of Hyattsville held a virtual forum on affordable housing. Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise), an affordable housing nonprofit, made a presentation which showed that 43% of Hyattsville renters are paying more than 30% of their income on housing.
According to Enterprise, in the last decade, home ownership rates have dipped, house prices have risen and rental prices have sky-rocketed. In 2013, 25% of rental units in Hyattsville were priced under $1,000 per month; in 2018, only 9% were.
Enterprise projects that the city needs only 342 new housing units before 2030. Though more than 1,675 are currently in the development pipeline, Enterprise has determined that they “may be out of reach for lower income households.”
The city awarded Enterprise a $90,000 contract in 2020 to develop an affordable housing strategy for the city. This forum was an introductory session.
Hyattsville Mayor makes public an agenda to protect Black futures
On June 1, Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth published an agenda for Hyattsville entitled “35 Policy Recommendations to Protect Black Futures.” Hollingsworth accomplished the first item on the agenda the same day, when the Hyattsville City Council unanimously passed Hyattsville Resolution 2020-05, “a Resolution in defense of Black lives and a commitment to enacting policies that unequivocally defend Black life and aim to undo the effects of systemic racism affecting Black people in the City of Hyattsville.”
Hollingsworth prioritized funding healing circles for Black people, listing this second on her agenda. She noted that “Mental health and collective healing led by and for Black people is a priority.”
Implementing participatory budgeting for Hyattsville comes third.
The list includes seven initiatives concerning policing and crime, from ending incarceration for municipal code infractions to moving school resource officers off-premises. The mayor makes proposals for housing, education, and electoral reform. She also proposes support services for individuals, including legal clinics, credit education and repair, and individual development accounts.
Fradin selected as HL&T staff member of the quarter
The editorial staff of the Hyattsville Life & Times (HL&T) selected staff writer Juliette Fradin as volunteer staff member for the second quarter of 2020.
Fradin was selected for her faithful dedication as a columnist and photographer during the last quarter. Her column, “Zero Waste of Time,” is consistently informative, practical and impassioned. Her photography has graced the front cover of the paper more than once, including for the June edition, and enhances the HL&T’s ability to tell the ongoing story of our community.
HL&T established this quarterly honor earlier this year to recognize the newspaper’s volunteers.
New principals coming to Hyattsville Elementary and Middle Schools
According to several sources, PGCPS has completed interviews for a new middle school principal, and an announcement is coming soon.
PGCPS is still seeking input on the selection process for an elementary school principal. Community members can complete surveys through July 10 at surveymonkey.com/r/HyattsvilleES (for English) or es.surveymonkey.com/r/HyattsvilleESsp (for Spanish).