Teaching empathy and social justice in the nation’s capital

– Students at Gonzaga College High School in the District have a community service requirement, but unlike other schools, they have to complete work that “directly supports the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized.” This isn’t too difficult as they have a homeless shelter on their campus. This school has a long history of educating students on how they should navigate an unjust world. (WaPo, 4/6)

In teacher Katie Murphy’s social justice classroom, signs read, “Let’s Combat Terror With Love” and “We Stand With Immigrants.” Sounds of buses, sirens and braking cars remind you that you’re downtown. A group of seniors has gathered to talk about their experiences with service and with the class, through which they participate in projects that fulfill 20 hours of their obligation.

“In classes like ethics and social justice you get all these stats thrown at you about homelessness or people who are without proper nutrition and all these numbers,” says Thomas Pollack, [a student] who lives in Alexandria, “but it’s hard to put a face to it. But once you start doing the service, that firsthand experience of helping give food to the homeless, or just talking to them, acknowledging they are there, you sort of put faces with those numbers, and you really humanize the issue instead of just thinking, Oh, man, that number’s bad.”

– DC General is back on track to be closed after the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment approved the final ward shelters. (DCist, 4/5)

– Gretchen Greiner-Lott, WRAG’s vice president, provides an update on the social sector’s action to support the Johnson Amendment. (Daily, 4/6)

– Independent Sector Calls for Universal Charitable Deduction (Chronicle, 4/5 – Subscription needed)

PHILANTHROPY | Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, announced that the foundation would invest up to $1 billion of its endowment, phased in over ten years, in mission-related investments (MRIs). (Equal Changes Blog, 4/5)

WORKFORCEMaryland passes sick-leave bill with enough votes to override likely Hogan veto (WaPo, 4/5)

– This Loudoun County artist wants to help women and children who have experienced domestic violence heal through art. (Loudoun Now, 4/5)

– Last week, Ward 8 community members celebrated the re-opening of the Congress Heights Arts & Culture Center. (AFRO, 4/5)

IMMIGRATIONICE arrests 82 people during 5-day operation in Virginia and DC (WJLA, 4/5)

This could be useful for a zombie apocalypse or a cool project around the house with your kids. Take your pick.

– Kendra