Great Streets Honors Great Work in the Community


Whether you know it or not, there are “Great Streets” in the District of Columbia.  In order to highlight individuals and entities that impact these areas there is an annual awards ceremony that is a play on the Kennedy Honors called the Great Streets Honors. It’s Honorees help depressed areas transform great streets.

For over three years The Great Streets Business Leadership Council (GSBLC), a small business capacity-building program funded by the DC Department of Housing and Community under the Neighborhood Based Services program puts on the awards ceremony, has been a “must-attend” event in Ward 8.  Facilitated by Congress Heights Community Training & Development Corporation, the annual event recognizes significant contributions to underserved communities.

“Too often those who do the great work in communities are overlooked and unrecognized, Great Street Honors were created to bridge that gap,” according to Congress Heights CDC Chair of the Board Jeanett Henry, an attorney who began her career by directing a council committee shared by former Ward 8 councilmember Wilhelmina J. Rolark.

The 3rd Annual Great Streets Honors Ceremony will be held on Saturday, January 19th, 2013 at Old Congress Heights School /Imagine Public Charter School from 11:30 am until 2:00 pm. What has been traditionally an evening black tie event will be a jazz brunch this year as not to conflict with Presidential Inaugural events that night.

“We purposely have the event in Ward 8; in our neighborhood, explains GSBLC, Executive Director Monica Ray.  “We want to celebrate the rich culture and history of Southeast so we have it locally.”

The phrase “Great Streets” is taken from a multi-agency cooperative called the Great Streets Initiative that is a partnership between the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the District Department of Transportation and the Office of Planning.  The initiative was set forth to identify and improve specific neighborhoods that stood to benefit the most from economic development investment. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE and South Capitol Street along with nine other streets were deemed the “Great Streets.”

With the backdrop of a new presidential term for Obama, this year’s Honors look to continue to reflect on a year of accomplishments of dedicated community partners. This year’s keynote Donald Temple, noted civil rights attorney in DC community, and in attendance would be an assembly of leaders, politicians, business owners, sponsors and residents from the community.

The Honors categories include Outstanding Religious Organization, Emerging Leader, Small Businessman and Small Businesswoman of the Year, Outstanding Educator, and Living Legend. The Honors recognizes those who have had an impact in or along a “Great Street.”  The primary criterion in the selection process is success and service.

“I am very appreciative to Great Streets Honors for acknowledging members of the community and our hardworking efforts to make things better, says 2012 Small Businesswoman of the Year, LaRuby May of 7L Construction.

Past Honors recipients include: Brighter Day Ministries, Corey and Lee Belamy (B&B Services), Stacey Scott (Imagine Southeast Public Charter School), Linda Moody, and Markus Batchelor.  Perennial Sponsors include Capitol Services Management, Inc., District Development Group, Hamel Builders, Hope Village, Inc., and R.V. Carey’s Plumbing and Heating.

“Many small businesses run risk of being displaced, with big businesses coming into our communities, explains GSBLC Vice Chairperson Phinis Jones. This event allows us highlight those individuals.  We want these businesses to be able to compete in the new environment.”

The GSBLC offers technical support that consists of business operations, fiscal management, proposal writing/fundraising, incorporation support, micro-loans, education, procurement, and leveraging resources.

Great Streets Honors is open to the public with tickets for $60 and tables available for purchase.   Nominations for awardees are being accepted until January 2nd.  Souvenir booklet camera-ready ads are due by January 15.  Please call Kevin Vaughan for tickets, tables, nominations, sponsorships and ads at 202.563.5201 or at



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here