Remembering Big Mike: Line Dance Instructor and Inspiration

Big_Mike

I met Michael “Big Mike” Ballard four years ago when Grassroots DC moved into the Potomac Gardens Public Housing Complex. He made regular use of our Community Resource Center creating flyers for the dance classes he taught and using the computers and the Internet access working for his church and the nonprofit he was involved with Sistahs with Purpose. He taught at Knox Hill, Turkey Thicket Recreation Center and Potomac Gardens. He passed on October 10. He is survived by his mother Linda, sister Theresa and dozens and dozens of students and friends. He was a kind and compassionate person who will be missed. Below is an article I wrote about him in 2015. . . . → Read More: Remembering Big Mike: Line Dance Instructor and Inspiration

The NEAR Act and the Future of Policing in the District of Columbia

Teens+Arrested+DC

After a two-year effort by District residents who want the city to use violence prevention rather than aggressive policing methods like Stop and Frisk, the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act (or NEAR Act) was passed. If the NEAR Act is to succeed in giving communities control over how they are policed, community members must understand it. . . . → Read More: The NEAR Act and the Future of Policing in the District of Columbia

The Interrupters Screening and Discussion

Interrupters Facebook Event -3

Thanks to the recent passing of the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Act (NEAR Act), the District of Columbia will create a program similar to Chicago’s Cease Fire program. What will it mean for DC’s communities? Come to the screening of The Interrupters and find out more. Doors open at 5:30 PM. The movie begins at 6:00 PM Sharp. . . . → Read More: The Interrupters Screening and Discussion

Placing DC’s Crime Wave in Context

lanier

This past summer, much media attention was given to what has been called a “surge” of violent crime in DC. Resident reactions to the violent crime have been particularly severe on Capitol Hill. . . . → Read More: Placing DC’s Crime Wave in Context

How Line Dancing Helped Big Mike Save Himself

Big Mike's Line Dance Class

Kids can be mean. Few know this better than 36-year-old DC native and Potomac Gardens resident Michael Ballard. Michael Ballard was heavy all of his life. The kids called him Fat Mike. His mother suffered from weight problems also so she understood what it was like to be teased and humiliated at school. It was […] . . . → Read More: How Line Dancing Helped Big Mike Save Himself