By Micha Green,
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor,
mgreen@afro.com

Wife, mother, education advocate, former Director of the D.C. Office of Community Affairs and now Ward 5 Council candidate Faith Gibson Hubbard said her wealth of experiences doing things outside of the spotlight makes her the perfect candidate to dutifully and selflessly serve her hopeful constituents. 

“I’ve already been serving the people of Ward 5, through all of the roles that I have done.  And I wasn’t an elected official.  I started off serving the people of Ward 5 from a much more grassroots, civic way, with the Ward 5 Council on Education, and that was the first thing I did 12 years ago.  When my husband and I bought our home here and made Ward 5 our forever home, I decided to get involved and serve our community and I’ve been serving my neighbors in Ward 5 even when the spotlight wasn’t on my work,” Gibson Hubbard said in an AFRO Live interview. “I think that is something that absolutely sets me apart from my colleagues.  It’s not about this moment, but it’s about the track record and what I’ve been doing over time. So the roles that I have had, both twenty years ago starting as an educator in a middle school classroom, up until being in the Mayor’s Office as the Director of the Office of Community Affairs, it’s bringing resources to our community and to our families in ways that they need.”

“I am a Ward 5 resident, this is my forever home, and so I am bringing services to my neighbors and removing barriers for my neighbors in ways that I would want people to remove them for me,” the Council candidate continued passionately.  

The Council hopeful currently serves as a founding Board member of Ujima, Inc. as part of the National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community and has made advoating for others a major part of her career. Gibson Hubbard’s track record in serving the District of Columbia has included from classrooms to Mayoral Offices, and in each position she has had to be a strong, effective leader.  As Director of the Office of Community Affairs, Gibson Hubbard was responsible for overseeing 13 Mayoral agencies and she helped develop the “Thrive by Five D.C.” program, which helped lay the groundwork for Strong Families, Strong Future D.C. Through Strong Families, Strong Future, $1.5 million has been allocated to strengthen communities by such efforts as providing $900 direct cash payments monthly to 132 low-income new parents and pregnant women in the District’s Wards 5, 7 and 8.

“In 2019, I was appointed to be the first Executive Director of Thrive by Five D.C., and that was really heart and passion work for me, because I am also the mom of two. While I have accomplished many things, my most important accomplishments are being Emerson and Colton’s mom and that work of Thrive by Five D.C. was focused on maternal health and early learning and development, and we know in order for families to be strong families and have strong futures, we have to give them the best start,” Gibson Hubbard said, before further unpacking her own challenges in mothering newborns.

Council candidate Faith Gibson Hubbard with D.C. Editor Micha Green on AFRO Live. (Screenshot)

“So that work was really powerful for me because it was therapeutic, it allowed me to recover from the traumas that I had experienced in my birthing journey, particularly with my daughter, who just turned four last week and my son, who is eight, but it’s not easy having children. Even when you have the resources that you need, even when you have the type of employment that you need, it’s not easy bringing new love and life into your life,” she emphasized.

“And so that work that started in 2019, around focusing on maternal health, around really lifting up the issues that Black women and Black birthing persons are dealing with, not just in the District of Columbia, but just in general, was really important to me.  So, so much of what you see now in Strong Families, Strong Futures, came out of the work of Thrive by Five. The work of the Maternal and Infant Health Summit and hearing from families here in the District and providers about- what do families need?  When my husband and I had our son eight years ago, there was no instruction manual that came and there were also no additional payments that came for the things that my son would need. Yes, I could breastfeed him, but there was still an increased cost in resources, diapers, formula, food, just supports that you need as a family- strollers and car seats, and all these different things. And so the work of Thrive by Five is what made Strong Families, Strong Futures possible. And that additional $900 a month is going to mean everything to families, because you have no idea what to expect when expecting- literally you don’t- and not only on your mental health, but also the things that you can provide within your home,” Gibson Hubbard explained of the new program, administered by Martha’s Table. 

Issues surrounding support for strong families not only led Gibson Hubbard to the world of maternal health, but also education, a field she took from the classroom to advocating in official positions and to Council members.

“I was appointed by the State Board of Education to be the first Chief Student Advocate, helping families,” Gibson Hubbard said before explaining her work in helping to create guidances to improve the teacher to guardian communication.  “

Gibson Hubbard took many of her concerns and desires to improve education straight to the former At-Large Council member and Chair of the Council’s Committee on Education, David Grosso, who has proudly endorsed her candidacy. 

“I met Council member Grosso over a decade ago, when he was a Council candidate and I was advocating for two new middle schools to be realized in Ward 5, which now are— McKinley Middle School and Brookland Middle School,” Gibson Hubbard said. “Then I encountered him again when I was Chief Student Advocate for the District of Columbia, leading the Office of the Student Advocate, around advocating for issues that families were telling us were not working— special education, student discipline, we needed a significant overhaul in student discipline, and we had to change his mind. So advocating with him and saying, ‘zero tolerance policies, those don’t work. That contributes to the school to prison pipeline.  What could we be doing better for students?’ Advocating to him that the Office of the Student Advocate and the Office of the Ombudsman needs to be more autonomous from the State Board of Education. So working with him, again, when the spotlight wasn’t shining on the work, he could really see my passion,” she explained of her longtime work with Grosso. 

“And when I announced my candidacy, he was one of the first people that was like, ‘Faith, you are the one.  I’ve seen you doing the work, and I haven’t seen some others doing the work.’ He lives in Ward 5, so I would be representing him, so that means a lot, but also it means that he knows how passionate and committed I am to this work.”

Grosso has been so committed to Gibson Hubbard’s vision that he and his wife actually went door-to-door with the candidate to advocate on her behalf.

The Council candidate said if elected, she hopes to reinstate the now defunct Council Committee on Education, which serves intergenerational Washnigtonians.

“There’s no longer a Committee on Education and we need to bring that back. It’s not just about our young children, but it’s also about our workforce, it’s about seniors who want to age in place in the District.  Education is a lifelong activity and so his endorsement is just a further confirmation that I’ve taken the right step and that will give my neighbors the confidence they need to know that the work I’ve been doing here— it is something that’s sustaining and something that I’m really passionate about and will continue to do,” she said.

Outside of education, Gibson Hubbard has been busy working to advocate for Ward 5 residents in other ways as well.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic response, bringing resources directly to the doors of many of our neighbors, groceries, and how to test, and how to apply for mental assistance.  Those are things I’ve been doing in many of my various roles. And those are things that I would continue to do if I am elected official.  Again, it’s about what someone does when people aren’t looking.  And I’ve been doing a lot of work, when people weren’t looking in order to make a difference in the lives of my neighbors and to be able to pour into things that will make a difference in my own life, because I’m raising my family here.”

The wife and mother of two, with a wealth of experience serving the public, said she is well-prepared to sit on the Council as Ward 5’s representative.

“I think the roles that I have held before are so important in being able to navigate government, which so many times, a lot of our neighbors don’t understand. We have very complex systems and I’ve been able to break down those systems,” Gibson Hubbard said confidently.

For more information on the candidate visit https://faithforward5dc.org.

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Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor