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DC JazzFest From Home

June 2, 2020

Tune in to the DCJF YouTube channel every Saturday at 7 PM to catch this week's edition of the DCJazzFest From Home video series!

About this Event


The DC JazzFest From Home Series is a weekly event occurring every Saturday at 7:00 PM on the DCJF YouTube Channel and Facebook page that will feature never-before-seen footage of performances from year's past as well as live-streamed shows from DCJF artist alums.


Please make a contribution to the Artist Support Fund to directly support the featured artists and to help the DCJF Music Education Program as we continue to provide academic instruction to students around the DC metro area.

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Still Time to Vote for Ward 2 Councilmember, Deadline Tuesday

May 31, 2020

If you live in Ward 2 and haven't already voted, your vote Monday until 7:00 pm or Tuesday until 8:00 pm will almost surely determine who is elected Ward 2 Councilmember for the next four years. This election will fill the seat that had been occupied by Jack Evans since 1991 until he resigned in January as his colleagues were about to expel him because of ethics violations.   The June 2 primary picks the Democratic nominee to fill the four-year term beginning January 2, 2021.  The June 16 special election will fill the seat for six months.

There are eight Democrats on the ballot for the primary, in this order: Jack Evans, Patrick Kennedy, Kishan Putta, Jordan Grossman, Daniel Hernandez, Brooke Pinto, Yilin (Ellen) Zhang, John Fanning.  The June 2 winner will be the one Democrat in November for the Ward 2 seat. Because of covid-19, early, absentee voting was strongly encouraged; however the deadline for applications has passed; however, in-person voting is easy--the poll at Hardy Middle School, 1819 35th St. NW is open Monday, 8:30 am to 7 pm and on Tuesday, 7 am to 8 pm.

The Ward 2 Council office isn’t the only one on the June 2 Democratic ballot; voters will also still find the Presidential candidates and Delegate to Congress, at-large councilmember and shadow senator and representative all listed. On the Republican side for Ward 2, Katherine Venice is the only contender and, therefore, is sure to be on the November ballot.

For the special election June 16 to fill the seat for six months, in which all the primary candidates are competing except Jack Evans, early voting begins on Friday, June 12 and ends Tuesday, June 16.  All Ward 2 voters, regardless of party can vote.  The winner will become Councilmember a few days later in June and serve until January 2, 2021, when the November general election winner will take office.  It is more than likely that the winner of the primary June 2 will win the special election June 16, except if it is Jack Evans, who isn’t on the special election ballot.

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Georgetown University Student Explores the History of Ben's Chili Bowl

May 18, 2020

Georgetown University student, Sonali Mirpuri (C’20) explored the history of Ben’s Chili Bowl in her college thesis.


Mirpuri was interested in studying how first-generation Indian students such as herself navigated the intersections of race, identity and community at Georgetown University. After meeting with the family that started the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl chain in Washington, D.C., Mirpuri gained rare insights that helped her complete a thesis on the micro-history of this community staple.


Through conversations with the Ali family (Mahaboob Ben Ali, the founder of the restaurant, passed away in 2009), Mirpuri learned about the changes in the community over the years and the struggles that the Ali family overcame. 

(Photo by: benschilibowl.com)

“I was fascinated by how Ali’s ideas of race and ethnicity helped him settle into a black community, and how this affected his other identities of being Muslim of Indian descent,” says Mirpuri.


Ben Ali’s grandparents, originally from India, were sent to Trinidad as indentured laborers. He was raised in the town of San Juan, the first child of seven in a Muslim, Indo-Caribbean family.  In 1945, Ali immigrated to the U.S. as a student, living in Nebraska and Pennsylvania before attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he fell in love with the U-Street community.


The U Street Corridor, colloquially referred to during this time as Black Broadway due to the thriving black-owned entertainment venues and businesses, contained the nation’s largest urban black community.


When he and his wife Virginia Ali, a black woman from Washington, opened their restaurant in this vibrant community in 1958, Ali chose to call it Ben’s Chili Bowl as a nod to the American community he was now a part of in D.C.


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