In just over two days, 550 individuals and 30 organizations signed a petition to ask Mayor Bowser to stop the demolition of buildings on the DC General campus until the families experiencing homelessness have moved out of the nearby shelter, and then to use the highest level of protection and care when conducting demolition and building so as to protect the health of the women who stay at Harriet Tubman shelter, and the people who stay at the DC Jail.

Today, we dropped off the first round of signatures to the office of the Mayor.  We’re still collecting signatures, so please still sign on and spread the word!


We are grateful for the show of community solidarity and participation in the face of environmental, health, and housing injustice, and will keep our readers updated on the petition and anything else we learn about what is going on at #DCGeneral.

 In the words of petition signers themselves:


Why not just wait until the kids are gone Ms. Mayor?

There is no reason to endanger the lives of the people living in the shelter! 

There is absolutely no reason to put families at risk for anything. “Safe enough” is not a yardstick measure.

Families must be housed before demolition!

A simple act of refraining from acting until all families are out of the area would make all the difference.

It’s inhumane to commence demolition at DC General until all families are relocated and safely housed.

I urge Mayor Bowser to reconsider her rigid timetable that calls for demolition of DC General buildings before the new transitional housing facilities are ready to receive those families who will be displaced. Hasty action is likely to (1) put vulnerable children in harm’s way and (2) result in excessive costs to taxpayers for motel rentals in the interim.

Mayor Bowser, there is no excuse for taking such an action.  All you have to do is agree, apologize for the scheduling error, and wait until all the families have moved out.  There are no other options for a person with any conscience!

I am writing both as an advocate and a decade-long resident of the District. Please delay demolition of DC General buildings until all families have vacated the campus. It will be much easier to delay this for a few more months than deal with potential repercussions of continuing demolition, with its unknown health risks, for years to come.

I work with families at the shelter through the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance. Please do not begin demolition while there are still children living at DC General.  Even if the risk is small, there is no level of risk that is worth it.  I understand that there is a fiscal impact as the result of the delays, but if these children suffer health effects, the fiscal impact could be far worse.  Please delay demolition until all of the families have moved out. Thank you.

Mayor Bowser, I know your intentions are good, but a construction deadline is not worth risking the health of children. Remember, officials in Flint, MI, thought they were doing the right thing, too. As someone who voted for you, I ask you to do the right thing to ensure the health and safety of some of our city’s most vulnerable residents.

I’m pregnant and homeless in DC. I’ve been having a very hard time getting housing. Closing this shelter before there’s a replacement is a BIG MISTAKE! Please don’t close the shelter before we have a replacement!

Common sense dictates withholding demolition of a hazardous building until families, including small children, are out of harm’s way.

I want these families to have the same health and safety considerations that my family in Ward 3 has. When we have welcomed our new neighbors into our Ward 3 family shelter, and all the other wards have done the same, then demolition can begin.

Any potential health risk for children and families is too high. Whatever the cost, we need to ensure children’s safety first.

To risk the health and safety of DC’s most vulnerable because of an arbitrary construction deadline would not only be the height of capriciousness but would border on cruelty.

Mayor Bowser, please protect the people of this city as you’d protect your own family. After all, they are.

We have failed the families at DC General time and again. Rushing them out without permanent/stable housing, and conducting demolition before they leave is criminal, shameful, and not who we are as a community. We don’t have the luxury of making this decision lightly.

Please do not start demolition of DC General until all of the families have moved out. It’s an unnecessary risk to their health and well-being.

Please wait until these families have moved.  I am sure there are strong financial pressures to move forward immediately, but please choose the higher moral ground of valuing the health and welfare of these families.

Please wait until the families in DC General family shelter are gone to demolish building 9. As a mom of two who has dealt with living with lead dust and had a scare of elevated levels, I entreat you as a new mom to have sympathy for the moms living in DC General. Please don’t expose their children to the dangerous neuro-toxins that will be released in the air if Bldg 9 is demolished early. I hope you never have to deal with elevated lead levels with your baby. The dust gets on everything and children are always putting their hands in their mouths. Thank you for waiting to demolish Bldg 9 until the families in DC General are relocated later this winter.
Ward 5 Resident and mom of two boys, ages 5 and 2

Do the right thing – think about the health and safety of the families living on that campus — already not a pretty site.  Demolition will only make it worse.

I voted for you because I believe in that you will do right by us all.

We are horrified when we see children in harmful condition on the border because of immigration, we must be equally horrified to see children in our own city placed in horrible conditions.

This is their home, your home, and all of our home. We hope you will do the right thing. 

Dear Mayor – Our neighbors deserve more respect than this. Please don’t demolish any part of DC General until it’s completely vacant. What’s another few months when the welfare of children is at stake? Thank you in advance for doing the right thing. 

Our city needs to protect kids from environmental toxins that can have a serious harmful impact on the health of children and families living near DC General, Harriet Tubman shelter, and people who are incarcerated. Mayor Bowser, delay the demolition of Building 9 until all families are housed a safe distance away from the site.

Do not demolish the buildings near DC General until all residents have left. Do not put these families at risk. The welfare of all of dc’s residents should be your highest priority. My vote will always go to the person who demonstrates that they care about DC’s residents and their health. Development is less important than people. Stop this demolition for just a few weeks, please!

Please don’t demolish any buildings until the residents of the shelter have all been moved out. It’s dehumanizing and unsafe to be turning their already bleak surroundings into even more of a danger zone. 

This is unconscionable.  I have no idea what could justify endangering these families. 

This isn’t right.