Archive for the ‘Social Commentary’ category

Documentary Exploring Changing U Street, Columbia Heights, & Petworth Screening This Weekend

October 5, 2015

DogParks & CoffeeShops: Diversity Seeking in Changing Neighborhoods (Trailer) from Sonya Grier on Vimeo.

Thanks to Borderstan for the heads up on this, the documentary DogParks & CoffeeShops: Diversity Seeking in Changing Neighborhoods is part of the Reel Independent Film Extravaganza at the Angelika Pop-up Theater at Union Market this coming weekend. The filmmakers will also hold a free screening and discussion of the film at the Northeast Neighborhood Library at 330 7th St. NE at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 10.

This film is based on research that explores diversity-seeking, community, and consumption in neighborhoods undergoing urban revitalization. In a study of three neighborhoods in Washington, DC, it finds that differences in resources, cultural norms and cultural preferences lead to tensions among some residents and perceived exclusion from consumption opportunities for others.

Borderstan has much more information on this film for those interested in learning more and planning on seeing the film.

Guest Editorial: D.C. Churches Beware!

July 29, 2013

As members of the community are aware, New Commandment Baptist Church recently sold their building at 625 Park Road to relocate outside Washington. I’ve been following this development as information has become available.

Today, I am including a guest editorial from Rev. Stephen Tucker of the New Commandment Baptist Church in which he addresses the difficulties churches face if they remain in Washington, including parking stresses which have been noted by others. He also addresses a snag the church discovered that was attached to a District grant that was later cancelled.

Below is Rev. Tucker’s editorial (click on image for larger, printable version):

D.C. churches beware

F the Banks Stickers Found in Columbia Heights

June 13, 2012

While walking along Park Road between 14th Street and 11th Street I noticed a series of anti-bank stickers on several of the streetlights and signs. They all had the url for which, in checking the site out, is self described as a “group of Occupy Wall Street activists and members of the The Other 98% who are tired of Big Money speaking louder than our voices and votes.”

That said, I thought the parody of Monopoly cards was clever. Below are photos of the stickers I found. You can see the complete set here.


Stand Up for Justice in the Americas Poster

May 16, 2012

I found the above poster in Columbia Heights a few weeks ago. In looking at the  SOA Whatch Web site, it must have been one of several posted prior to their April 16, 2012, event when their activists took to the streets around Capitol Hill.


Words to Contemplate

April 10, 2012

The following quote is painted onto the side of the building at the southwest corner of Georgia and Morton Street, NW. It is definitely food for thought.


President Lincoln’s Cottage Opens Exhibit on Modern Slavery (Feb. 17, 2012-Aug. 31, 2013)

February 16, 2012

To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Lincoln’s Cottage will open an exhibit on modern slavery tomorrow, February 17, titled “Can You Walk Away?”  According the Cottage’s Web site, this special exhibit will challenge perceptions of slavery in America today and raise awareness of a growing humanitarian crisis. By posing the question, “Can you walk away?” this exhibit will inspire people to engage with the modern abolitionist movement and to see that slavery is an ongoing issue that requires big thinking and direct action, just as it did in Lincoln’s time.

Full press release below.

Washington, D.C. – President Lincoln’s Cottage, in partnership with Polaris Project, will open Can You Walk Away? Modern Slavery: Human Trafficking in the United States President’s Day weekend in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center. The exhibit is part of a year-long commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln developing the Emancipation Proclamation at President Lincoln’s Cottage. Can You Walk Away? bridges the perceived gap between slavery past and present, and highlights the challenges and perceptions of slavery in America today. Can You Walk Away? will be open for 18 months, from February 17, 2012 through August 31, 2013.
“The Cottage has an obligation to the public to explore the modern impact of Lincoln’s presidency and ideas, especially ideas developed right here at the Cottage.It’s outrageous that slavery is a growing problem in our country, especially when the ‘shackles’ of slavery were legally abolished nearly 150 years ago. Slavery is a problem in our world today that requires big thinking and direct action, just like it did in Lincoln’s time,” said Erin Carlson Mast, Director of President Lincoln’s Cottage.
Can You Walk Away? uses powerful imagery, video footage and compelling statistics to inspire people to consider Lincoln’s ideas about slavery, discover the harsh reality of slavery today, and take direct action to help eliminate this problem. Human trafficking is a $32 billion-a-year industry and is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. Some 12 million people are held against their will in compelled service across the globe. President Lincoln’s Cottage is the authentic resource for understanding Lincoln’s perspective on slavery and his development of the Emancipation Proclamation and this exhibit connects his bold and courageous ideas with the modern abolitionist movement.


Mural, or Street Art? — Silenced George

December 6, 2011

Last time I was on U Street I saw the mural below at the southwest corner of U and 15th Street, NW. While it’s scale suggests it’s a mural, it strikes me more to be akin to street art. Does anyone know if this was painted before Occupy DC or in response to it?


Can We Do a Better Job of Keeping Our Lampposts Clutter Free?

December 1, 2011

Some lampposts in Park View still have bumper stickers campaigning for Frank Smith, who last represented Ward 1 on the DC Council over 13 years ago

Here’s one of the smaller things in life that annoys me. Posters, flyers, and placards that are posted to lampposts (and other surfaces) and don’t get removed after their usefulness has passed. While the  D.C. Municipal Regulations 24-108 provide clear guidelines for posting and removing posters, I don’t get a sense that anyone knows the regulations, follows the regulations, or enforces the regulations.

The rule for taking down posters is very generous, giving people a month to remove postings (24-108.6).  Still, I would like to see a bit more follow through with flyers that have expired, especially for those seeking assistance with lost pets which are move prevalent on the residential side streets than other types of flyers.

Bottom line — If you put them up, please take them down.


WAMU’s Metro Connection Feature Highlights Area Communities

February 24, 2011

It was recently brought to my attention that WAMU’s Friday program, Metro Connection, includes a feature that quickly introduces listeners to area neighborhoods. This is done through a segment called Door to Door which condenses the introduction into about a minute and a half. The communities highlighted on February 18th were Adams Morgan and Bladensburg, Md.

According to WAMU’s Web site, “Metro Connection reaches across Washington, D.C., Maryland, and northern Virginia to gather the sounds and stories that capture the current events, culture, and personalities driving the Washington region.” You can read a fuller description of the program here.

Among the neighborhoods you can experience by navigating the map above are Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan. Park View will be included in the near future.


Has D.C. Declared War on the Black Community?

December 6, 2010

Keep DC a Chocolate City poster

Saturday, lower Georgia Avenue south of Park Road was plastered with Keep DC a Chocolate City! posters (example at the right). While it lists many legitimate issues that the City and residents need to address — such as poverty, crime, the impact of development, HIV/AIDS, and displacement — it saddens me that these issues have all been presented as the Black community vs. the White community.

Washington is much more complex than that. D.C. has a rich culturally diverse population that continues to diversify. Ward 1 is home to significant Latino communities as well as persons of other ethnic backgrounds. In addition to historically Black neighborhoods changing demographically, there are also parts of the city that many would consider to be historically Black neighborhoods that were originally historically White neighborhoods . As one researches the City’s demography, the only thing that can be said for sure it that populations change over time and are continuing to change.

Vince Gray ran on a platform of “One City.” While a noble goal, is it achievable in a climate that is racially charged? Furthermore, can any of the serious issues facing our City be solved when our communities are pitted against each other?

The rally is scheduled for December 18th at 2928 Georgia Avenue.


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