On January 2, 2021, 19 newly-elected representatives were sworn in for the five Ward 7 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs). The ceremony, like much of the campaign, took place virtually, with Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray (D) administering the oath of office.
The large incoming class means that many Ward 7 ANCs will meet in January with a majority of their seven seats filled by new commissioners. They come to a difficult job in a difficult time, meeting virtually to help residents confront the all-too-real issues raised and, in many cases, exacerbated by the pandemic, including issues of health, public safety, education and housing.
Commissioners serve two-year terms without pay. Each commissioner represents a Single Member District (SMD) of approximately 2,000 residents. The ANCs’ main role in the District is to be their neighborhood’s official voice in advising the District government (and Federal agencies) on things that affect their neighborhoods.
Meet your newly elected representative below. Learn more about ANCs by visiting anc.dc.gov.
Sharon Jafari (7E05) was born and raised in DC and is an educator at a Ward 6 public charter school. While Jafari has lived in her SMD for the past ten years, she said that during the summer of 2020 she spent more time than usual exploring the neighborhood through daytime walks and reading comments from neighbors on social media.
Recognizing that she shared their concerns and desire for action, Jafari ran for office and won by an 11 percent margin.
Noting the uptick in area crime over the last year, Jafari said she wants to work with the community, outreach programs and police to figure out what to do to curb some of the crime. Marshall Heights, where her SMD is located, is also growing rapidly, meaning that current residents could soon be priced out. “We need to think about that as a whole community,” Jafari said.
Part of that, she acknowledges, is ensuring neighbors have a say in development. Another part is working with neighbors who are housing unstable and the organizations who work with them in the community, including staff and residents at The Horizon, the short-term family shelter in her SMD.
She said her desire to help connect seniors with services and support was reinforced by social media posts. For instance, she saw posts over the summer by seniors looking to connect with a “Christmas in July” drive, which provides necessities to homebound seniors —a need increased by COVID.
Jafari said that she is focused on violent crime, economic growth and its impact, affordable housing and public safety. She is prioritizing communication as she enters her first term. “I’m committed to listening to concerns and responding in a timely manner to constituents,” she said. “Because what everybody thinks is important to them, so it has to be important to me —I will always listen.”
You can reach Commissioner Jafari at 7E05@anc.dc.gov.