As many of you know, I’m a resident of Anacostia, a neighborhood that many in Washington, DC continue to associate with crime, poverty, and disrepair. I write this post in the hope that you will support a community effort to hire legal counsel to defend the Historic Preservation of Derelict District Properties Act of 2016 and the promised Class A retail making up an integral part of the Big K Special Merit Project. You can find details here, but I also find it important to share my perspective on why your support is invaluable.
When I first moved to Anacostia, I began a blog to document my home’s renovation. As I wrote in March 2011, “[my home’s] run-down state illustrates exhaustion and neglect, and for too long the ability to find resonance in an area of the District many continue to associate with these same characteristics.”
In the years that have passed, many homes that once stood abandoned are now filled with (human) life. Small businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists have also taken root, fostering a community that is diverse and vibrant. There is an energy within Anacostia that grows with each passing day – an energy rooted in community, creativity, and respect.
In the years that have passed, I have also witnessed the dark side of local D.C. politics, namely the failed promise of new, quality investments and a better quality of life for those that call my East of the River neighborhood home.
Whereas residents have come together time and time again to plead our case for (1) why we support an affordable housing plan for the District that does not concentrate poverty in any one neighborhood; (2) why we believe it is wrong for historic homes to be held vacant and blighted by the District’s Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD); and, (3) why we seek to really be a part of the processes and parameters used by the District of Columbia government to decide how best to revitalize our commercial corridor, our voices are ignored.
The lack of transparency in the actions taken (or lack thereof) and the disregard by the District of Columbia’s leadership for Anacostia must stop. This is why, friends, I humbly ask for your support in this effort to raise monies so that we can seek legal counsel to hold our elected officials accountable. Enough is enough.
Anacostia – alongside other East of the River neighborhoods – should not remain a place to be avoided rather than one to proudly call home. The District of Columbia government should play a key role in this effort.