Anacostia Coordinating Council Celebrates 30 Years

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By K. Levek

Exec. Dir. Phil PannellFor the past 17 years the Anacostia Coordinating Council (ACC) has held its annual boat ride on the Nina Dandy in Alexandria, VA.  The boatride is the organization’s flagship fundraiser and since its inception the boat ride has been sold out.  Those who attend can expect a small ceremony where the board honors organizations who work hard in the community, but it also provides attendees an opportunity to meet with various city elected officials.

This year Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange (D), Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D), Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans (D), Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells (D) attended the event, along with a host of Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.  District Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe also attended and At-Large Councilmember David Grosso (I) came aboard the boat in the beginning to meet and greet, but left before it took off.  The event is a premier networking event for political leadership and would-be political leadership, particularly in an election season that is well underway with three sitting councilmember’s having announced.

Mayor Gray, Dixon and Phil PannellOn January 6, 1983 the ACC was incorporated with the purpose of improving the community and most notably to lobby for the building of the Anacostia Metro Station.  According to its website it is “a volunteer, membership consortium of organizations and individuals involved with the revitalization of Anacostia and its adjacent neighborhoods.  Native Anacostian and former Council Chairman and Ward 4 Councilmember Arrington Dixon has led the organization as its chair since 1994 and community activist Philip Pannell has served as the organization’s Executive Director since 1994.

Pannell said he is proud of the accomplishments of ACC. “To have an organization that’s been around for decades, more than 30 years is fantastic,” he said.  He said so many community organizations have annual events for years and then one day the event(s) just fall off.  “It’s good to see one organization that has a signature event that continues.  People look forward to it and it’s great to have something you can depend on.”

Dixon and Denise LombardiEach year on the boatride ACC honors companies and community organizations that have given back to the Ward 8 community.  Dixon said, “We have continued this tradition [of the boat ride] for 17 years and each year it is more successful than before.”  This year’s honorees included Verizon and DC Ward 7 &8 Prevention Center, both organizations that have partnered with ACC.  ABC 7 News DC Bureau Chief Sam Ford was honored for his work in Ward 8.  Pannell said he was being honored for not only covering news and events east of the river, but for also working with journalism students at Ballou Senior High School in Ward 8.  Other attendees who were apart of community-based organizations were also allowed to give a brief presentation about their organization.

The ACC also boasts a large board of elected officers, community leaders, and residents. Founding board member Teresa Jones, affectionately referred to as “TJ” attended the boatride.  She said, “I am so proud to be a member of this organization and to continue my support of Arrington.  We have been friends for so long and I am always happy to continue supporting his efforts.”  Pannell also lamented on celebrating the 30th anniversary of the organization.  He said, “I am happy to have served this organization and pleased that we continue to host our annual boatride and it is sold out once again!”

Attendees on Top DeckThe program also featured brief remarks from each of the elected officials.  Mayor Gray, during his remarks, commented on the potential government shutdown, which has been looming over the federal government.  He said, “I have concluded that all D.C. workers are essential,” and if the federal government decides to shut down, D.C. will not.  His remarks were well received, as many of the attendees were District employees.  Other organizations raffled off tickets and dinners and concerts in honor of the event.  Winners received tickets to the Wolftrap, Drake concert, Bus Boys and Poets, Eatonville and other upcoming community events.  “One thing we have done is focused on collaborating with businesses and various causes to bring greater awareness,” said Pannell about the board.

The ACC meets every last Tuesday of the month (except August and December) from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Anacostia Community Museum (1901 Fort Place SE). For more information visit www.anacostiadc.org, call 202-889-4900, or email ACC01@aol.com

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