Resources for Furloughed Government Employees

I’m on a lot of listservs that vary by city after spending so much time living in different parts of the country. I received this list of ways to assist the federal employees living in the DMV area from one such listserv that offers resources in the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia area (or DMV for short) — if anyone reading this has resources for federal employees in other areas, feel free to post and I can update this blog.
FYI – Furlough Information (DMV area)
Since the federal government remains closed affecting over 360,000 federal employees in the Greater Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, lets transform this “sour lemon situation” into a “lemonade experience”. Enclosed below is a listing of businesses and organizations around the DMV that are offering freebies and special deals to furloughed employees with proper Federal Work I.Ds. Please keep your spirit up and remain positive!
1. Financial Assistance: 
Bank of America, Citi, SunTrust – offer varying degrees of assistance for affected clients through their financial hardship programs, some are on a case-by-case basis, and customers are being asked to contact their bank to learn of the programs.
Chase – Their hardship programs allow customers who no longer receive a government check directly deposited into their bank account to automatically waive or refund overdraft and monthly service fees until the shutdown ends.. Moreover, according to The Financial Times, Chase will help government workers who could miss a payment on a car, credit card or mortgage payment
Congressional Federal Credit Union – offers furlough solutions ranging from a relief line of credit with an initial rate of 0 percent for 60 days and then 4 percent interest on the remaining balance, to line-of-credit limit increases to payment deferments and more. They are also referring customers with specific concerns to their in-house financial counseling services.
Democracy Federal Credit Union – offering a short-term emergency loan with 0% interest, lending director Antoine McStay said to CNN. They are offering contractors other options, such as delaying their payments on existing loans.
First Command Financial Services – offering solutions including interest-free payroll advances, as well as other assistance.
Navy Federal Credit Union – Federal government employees whose salaries are deposited into their account with this credit union are being offered 0% APR loans up to $6,000, depending on eligibility. The loan does not require a credit check and has no fees or interest. The amount credited to the account will be automatically deducted once government reopens and pay resumes.
The United Way of the National Capital Area – Their Emergency Assistance Fund will provide additional monies to nonprofits that provide food and housing to help them meet the increased demand for their services during the government shutdown.
Thrift Savings Plan – Furloughed federal employees can take a loan against their retirement savings in the TSP so long as they are in that status for fewer than 30 days. Members should read about the shutdown’s impact on TSP contributions, loans, and withdrawals.
Transportation Federal Credit Union – offering furlough preparedness and assistance including money management counseling, short term emergency furlough low-interest loan up to $3,000 to customers, and a Skip-A-Payment option (with fee waiver) for members who already have a consumer loan during the furlough period.
USAA – offering low-interest loans to their Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uniformed officer base, affected by the shutdown. Visit this link to learn more.
Wells Fargo – will consider reversing overdraft fees for customers whose income has been disrupted by the shutdown; and mortgage, loan and credit customers may qualify for forbearance or other payment assistance programs.
2. Utilities
DC Water – Furloughed federal workers who are having hardship paying their bill can learn more about the various program offerings by contacting customer service at 202-354-3600.
Dominion Energy – offering various forms of assistance, including payment extensions, long-term payment plans and bill payment assistance options. Assistance varies by state.
PEPCO – PEPCO is urging impacted federal workers to consider visiting their website to learn more about the available assistance programs being offered. They encourage those in need to consider applying for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program which provides utility assistance grants.
Washington Gas – offering impacted federal workers flexible payment arrangements, payment deferments, budgeting plan, and financial assistance to pay for their bills via The Washington Area Fuel Fund. Customers should contact Washington Gas customer service representatives at 1-844-WASHGAS for more information and to discuss their individual situations.
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) – will be suspending all water service shutoffs, waiving late fees, and working one-on-one with customers impacted by the partial shutdown. Information on their assistance programs can be found at this link.
3. Food: FREE
&pizza – All D.C. locations offer free pizza pies for federal employees between 6pm-8pm during the shutdown.
Baked by Yael – Across from the National Zoo, this popular bakery offers free coffee for federal workers and contractors, and free bagel sandwiches or small orders of soup each weekday to zoo workers working without pay. This is while supplies last. Free cake pop classes for federal workers and contractors.
Carmine’s – Downtown DC – Free order of meatball sliders from 2-4pm during the shutdown. Their happy hour menu will be offered all day long at the bar for as long as the shutdown lasts.
Charlie Palmer – The steakhouse on Constitution Avenue is offering a free fried chicken sandwich to all government employees during the furlough with a government ID. Add a Blue Point Toasted Lager with fries for $12. Valid as long as the shutdown lingers for lunch guests at the bar only.
Chef José Andrés – All of celebrity Chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup restaurants are offering different free sandwiches each day from 2-5pm, to federal employees until they get paid again. You don’t want to miss these tasty sandwiches. Participating restaurants include: barmini by José Andrés, Beefsteak, China Chilcano, Jaleo DC, Oyamel, and Zaytinya.
Grilled Cheese DC – offering a free grilled cheese sandwich on Thursday, January 10 from 11 am – 3 pm, and at 4pm and each night afterward until the furlough is lifted, they will offer four cocktails at $5 – the drinks will be that price all night long. Must have government ID for offers.
Junction Bakery & Bistro – This Alexandria bakery if offering a free 12-ounce drip coffee to all federal government employees with work ID.
Pork Barrel BBQ – The award-winning pulled pork sandwich is being offered free of charge to furloughed federal employees and contractors until the shutdown ends.
Taco Bamba – The Chinatown location is offering a free traditional taco with your federal government ID card.
The Capital Area Food Bank – partnered with Giant grocery stores, free produce will be offered each weekend (as of January 12) from 9am-12pm until the end of the partial government shutdown to the first 250 furloughed federal workers and contractors (with work ID). The five Giant locations are: 7074 Allentown Road, Camp Springs, MD 20748; 10480 Campus Way South, Largo, MD 20774; 1050 Brentwood Road, NE, Washington, DC 20018; 12051 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852; 6800 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22306.
Z-Burger – offering a free single burger (plain, cheese, veggie or turkey) per person for federal workers at their Tenleytown location only, for those with a federal government ID card. This offer is not daily, so please check their Twitter page to learn about upcoming dates and offers.. The next date is Thursday, January 10, 11am-7pm.
4. Discounted Drinks & Food:
BBQ Bus – Founded by a former government contractor, this Georgia Ave. NW BBQ location will slash 25% off the entire menu for federal employees and contractors.
Capitol Lounge – $5 drink specials and cocktails with cute names such as “Nothing Really Mattis” (Mad Dog 20/20 and Vodka) and “Mexico Will Pay For This” (Montezuma Blue tequila, OJ and grenadine).
Catch 22 – 15% off the final bill (excluding happy hour) for all federal employees during the shutdown.
City Tap – in Penn Quarter has extended happy hour with $5 draft beers, $6 house wine and $7 beer and shot combos.
City Winery – in Ivy City has $1 glasses of its own City Winery wines on tap..
District Doughnut – on 8th Street in Southeast, Cady’s Alley in Georgetown, and at The Wharf, free coffee with any purchase as long as the shutdown lasts.
Fazoli’s – Through Sunday, January 13 – buy a drink and you’ll get a free fan-favorite Pizza Baked Spaghetti at participating locations with your federal government ID,
Granville Moore’s – on H Street – offers a 30 percent discount on draft beers until the government reopens.
Little Havana – Show your government ID and get half off all drinks every day until the shutdown is over at this new and colorful Cuban respite in D.C.
Pennsylvania 6 – on Eye St. NW – offering extended happy hour, from 3pm-9pm while shutdown lasts with special $5 mixed drinks, a draft beer and a house wine.
Sugar Shack Donuts – locations in D.C., Arlington and Alexandria will give federal workers with ID a free cup of coffee with any purchase.
The Brighton – in the Wharf – is offering 10% off its regular prices.
The Ugly Mug DC – offers ‘The Affordable Meal Act’ – each Tuesday starting January 15, enjoy $7 meal deals and drink specials starting at 4pm.
5. Performances: Free and Discounted shows
Arena Stage – For government employees affected by the shutdown, Arena Stage is offering a 40% discount on tickets totheir next production, “Kleptocracy” — which begins January 18. Use offer code GVT40 and show your government I.D. when you pick up from the Box Office.
Millennium Stage – Catch up on some of the performing arts at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Created to make the performing arts accessible to everyone, their free daily programs begin at 6pm. No advance tickets are required unless otherwise specified. Read how the federal shutdown may impact The Kennedy Center’s hours, programs and employees.
Shakespeare Company – Offering 50 percent off tickets to performances to Noura and Hamlet if you use the promo code “shutdown.” You’ll need a federal government ID to pick up tickets, but can buy tickets to any of the shows which will continue into March.
Signature Theatre – On January 23, federal employees (both military and civilian) can enjoy a special discounted performance of its upcoming Judy Garland: A Star Is Born cabaret. There is a four-ticket limit per federal employee. Show your federal ID when picking up tickets. Tickets include a glass of wine or beer for those ages 21+ or non-alcoholic beverage for those under 21 years old. Get your tickets now.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company – Federal workers can take 15% off tickets to the upcoming BLKS, which opens February 4. Use promo code SHUTDOWN.
6. Child Care Services and Schools:
M-NCPPC – Will be waiving child care and preschool fees for dependents of furloughed employees during the shutdown. This includes before and after childcare fees at community centers, therapeutic recreation including Pre-School, Leisure Skills Development, Leisure & Life Skills, Kids Care, Morning Care, Kids Club, Extended Care, and Kids Day Out. In addition, facilities will be waiving the requirement for membership fees to use the fitness rooms (only) at any of the 45 community centers, Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center, Fairland Sports and Aquatics Complex, and Allentown Splash, Tennis and Fitness Park. This is for Prince George’s County residents only with an official furlough letter.
Prince George’s Community College – Eligible students impacted by the partial shutdown can get tuition assistance, one-time grants, holds on accounts and more to support their academic and career goals for the upcoming semester. To learn more about the criteria and required documents, students should contact the Tuition Assistance Hotline at 301-546-0154. In addition, the college offers free individual services and workshops on financial planning, budgeting, debt management, housing counseling, tax preparation, and more.
Prince George’s County Public Schools – The Excellence in Education Foundation Established a ‘10,000 Meals Challenge’ fund that will help pay for student meals during the partial shutdown and beyond. Those interested in donating to the fund may do so at this link.

Syllabus for Subversive Joy

My second semester as a Part-Time faculty person at The New School in the First Year Writing Program has officially started! I was tweeting about this course – the second I’ve designed — and there was a request to share it, so I thought I’d put it here and share with other scholars curious about pleasure politics and the overlaps/layers with regards to intersectional feminism. I can also post the Writing Toward Inclusion syllabus if that’s something of interest to y’all; let me know in the comments.

The essays/articles and scholarship that isn’t hyperlinked I accessed through the New York Public Library; I’m sure you can find copies through your local superheroes at your academic or public library institution as well. In future classes, I look forward to teaching adrienne maree brown’s Pleasure Activism which I just pre-ordered, and you should too!

I’ve adapted and erased some stuff below in order to streamline access to the best parts. Enjoy!

Course Description:

Subversive Joy: Writing the Senses As Resistance –In this first-year research seminar, we will examine literary works, theories and perspectives on the ways traditionally marginalized and/or oppressed communities have used humor, joy, spirituality and creativity to assert their humanity beyond constructs that only see some bodies as sites of trauma or for the uses of exploitation. After all, who doesn’t love an underdog, someone with so much faith and hope that they will make a way from no way? What does dedication to creating beauty and a legacy of art in a community that is rarely viewed in its full complexity truly mean, particularly for literature? Where and when has this resistance art flourished? Who has sought to de-legitimize it and have those efforts been successful? Is this simply an idealistic concept or is there scientific evidence that bears it out as necessary for survival? What is the impact on canon and individual work when trauma, pain and struggle are metabolized on the page into healing, connection and reconciliation? Readings may include Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, David Mura, Tommy Pico, Ross Gay, adrienne maree brown, Lucille Clifton, Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, Brittney Cooper and others.


Course Learning Objectives & Outcomes: Students who successfully complete this course will be able to conduct basic research and analyze text in order to write more comprehensive, relevant essays with inclusive audiences in mind. By the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:


  • Read texts critically for intersectional and inclusionary language and context
  • Contextualize feminist contemporary writing
  • Draft Annotated Bibliographies
  • Write effective and comprehensive narrative responses, analyses and critiques of work from a range of perspectives — especially intersectional feminist praxis –from an informed, historical perspective
  • Develop processes and strategies for identifying diverse and expansive primary and secondary sources of groundbreaking, visionary scholarship.


Required Texts

Most of the reading assignments are available online for free and will be posted to Canvas with the exception of

Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers

Sister Outsider: Essays & Speeches, Audre Lorde

WEEK 1 Jan. 22

Jan. 24


Introduction & Overview of the Course


January 22: Introduction, Walk-Through of Syllabus, Course Policies & Procedures.

The Global Center for Advanced Studies: “The Subversive Act of Joy”

Reading Assignment for Next Class: David Mura, “On Race and Craft: Tradition and the Individual Talent Revisited” from David Mura’s book, A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity and Narrative Craft in Writing

January 24: Workshop with David Mura, author of A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity and Narrative Craft in Writing

WEEK 2 Jan. 29

Jan. 31

Research Methods for Writing Reading for January 29th: Rules for Writers, Chapter 50: Thinking like a researcher; gathering sources

Reading for January 31st: Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde: “Poetry is Not A Luxury”


WEEK 3 Feb. 5th

Feb. 7th

On Feelings, Power & Resistance Reading for February 5th: Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde: “Uses of the Erotic.”

Reading for February 7th: Rules for Writers, Chapter 51, Managing Information, Taking Notes Responsibly


WEEK 4 Feb. 12th

Feb. 14th


Preparing for Essay I


Introduction to Workshopping & Preparation for Essay I due February 28th

Reading for February 12th: Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde: “An Interview: Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich.”

Reading for February 14th: “The History of Emotions: An Interview with William Reddy, Barbara Rosenwein, and Peter Stearns,” from History and Theory 49 (May 2010), 237-265


WEEK 5 Feb. 19th

Feb. 21

Drafting, Researching and Workshopping Reading for February 19th class: “The Meaning of Pleasure & The Pleasure of Meaning: Towards A Definition of Pleasure in ‘Reception Analysis,”” by Elisabeth Klaus & Barbara O’Connor 


WEEK 6 Feb. 26th

Feb. 28th


Writers on Joy and Happiness Reading for February 26th: Mary Pipher, January 2018, New York Times Op-Ed: The Joy of Being A Woman in Her 70s

Reading for February 28th : Zadie Smith on Joy

Essay I is DUE

WEEK 7 Mar. 5th

Mar. 7th

Joy & Struggle Outside of the U.S. Reading for March 5th: “The Joy of the Militancy: Happiness and the Pursuit of Revolutionary Struggle” by Yoana Fernanda Nieto-Valdivieso

Reading for March 7th: “‘I love myself when I am dancing and carrying on’: refiguring the agency of black women’s creative expression in Jamaican Dancehall culture,” by Bibi Bakare-Yusuf



WEEK 8  

Mar. 12th

Mar. 14th


Black Feminist Visions of a Politics of Pleasure  

Reading for March 12th: “Why We Get Off: Moving Towards a Black Feminist Politics of Pleasure,” by Joan Morgan, Winter 2015

Reading for March 14th: The Joys of Being A Black Woman, Crunk Feminist Collective 2011

Optional Revision of Essay I due (Part of In-Class/Online percentage)


WEEK 9  

Mar. 26

Mar. 28

Rest & Resistance Reading for March 26th: “Resting in Gardens, Battling in Deserts: Black Women’s Activism” by Joy James, The Black Scholar, 1999

Reading for March 28th: Resistance as Happiness: David Blumenthal, CrossCurrents, March 2014






Apr. 2nd

Apr. 4th


Drafting Essay 2 No Reading for April 2nd.

In-Class Writing: Draft Annotated Bibliography

Draft Thesis Statements and Outlines for Essay 2

Reading for April 4th: “Happiness (or not) after rape: hysterics and harpies in the media versus killjoys in black women’s fiction” by Zoë Brigley Thompson


WEEK 11  

Apr. 9th

Apr. 11th


Workshopping Essay 2 Drafts  

Reading for April 11th: Amber Rose & Black Women’s Sexuality, Bitch Magazine


WEEK 12  

Apr. 16th

Apr. 18th


Revolutionary Visions of Joy Reading for April 16th: “‘Learning to be Zen’: women travelers and the imperative to Happy” by Emily Falconer, Journal of Gender Studies, 2017

Reading for April 18th: Alice Walker, “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: The Creativity of Black Women in the South. (1974)” from In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens



WEEK 13  


Apr. 25th


Pleasure & Bliss in Writing & Activism Reading for April 23rd: Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of The Text

Reading for April 25th: “Five Tangible Tools of the Pleasure Activist” by adrienne maree brown  


WEEK 14  


Apr. 30th

May 2nd



Creative Resistance & Revision Draft Thesis Statements, Outlines & Workshopping

Reading for April 30th: “Tryin’ to Scrub that ‘Death Pussy’ Clean Again: The Pleasures of Domesticating HIV/AIDS in Pearl Cleage’s Fiction” by Timothy S. Lyle, African American Review, Summer 2017

Reading for May 2nd: Ross Gay on the connections between gardening and poetry, Wild Love.


WEEK 15  

May 7th

May 9th


  No Reading for May 7th, Final Workshop, Course Evaluations

 May 9th: ESSAY 3 DUE, Final Class