Greater Greater Washington

Public Safety


Keep it 100 on youth violence

Tomorrow we will bury another young man. Another young life cut short by a type of violence we all, no matter who we are or where we are from, struggle to understand.

A little over a year ago I was sitting on a mountain path, high above lake Atitlan in the Mayan village of San Antonio Palopo in Guatemala. Leaning on a wall looking out over one of the most beautiful vistas in the world, I had a short conversation with my travel companion, and victim of last week's shooting: Jamal Coates. "B, I never thought I would see things like this in my life. Thank you my man."

Jamal's six weeks of work in Guatemala with my organization Hoops Sagrado was part of his campaign to recover his life from the streets. When we got home he partnered with another mentoring program, he took a paid internship working with the Department of Parks and Recreation and was going full-time to a GED program. (He also starred in a Weaver Ward One video and volunteered for my campaign.)

Over the 12 years I had Jamal Coates in my life, to be completely honest, he was often irritating, stubborn and self-destructivebut he was also big in spirit, great with children, and so, so funny.

Jamal had a catch phrase, "I gotta keep it 100 with you." If you heard that phrase it meant he was going to give you his unfiltered, honest opinion.

So in the spirit of my fallen friend, I gotta keep it 100 with you all.

Those who forget their past are condemned to repeat it and unfortunately in the District of Columbia our past seems to be on a constant loop. Promises are made after each tragic incident to get tough on the crews and that the city will remain vigilant.

However, once the glare of the TV cameras and the attention of the blogosphere is gone, when the image of an overturned car in the middle of U Street fades from our memory, young men are still dead and young men are still in jail for life. It's what we, as a city, do after the heat of the moment passes that really matters.

Since, 2005 when 9-year old Donte Manning was shot in the head by a stray bullet at 13th and Euclid, what have we actually done other than be witness to countless other senseless murders?

In 2007, it was Tayon Glover, brother of The Wire actor Anwan Glover. Anwan came to Columbia Heights and begged for the local crews to put down their guns... to no avail. Earlier that summer Terry Cutchin, a 13-year-old honor student, was caught in the crossfire. Both were killed in the 1400 block of Girard Street NW.

In 2008, it was another friend of mine, an art student and all around great guy Derrel Goins, aka "Willow," who was murdered in Adams Morgan.

In 2009, it was Deborah Ann Brown who had been making iced lattes at Dunkin' Donuts in Columbia Heights. It was just a few steps away from the store, on the 2900 block of 14th Street NW, where police said a teenager with a gun riding a bicycle spotted a perceived enemy across the street. He fired, and Brown was caught in the crossfire between two rival gang members.

This year it's Jamal Coates, in a dramatic shootout and tragic car crash, while Jamal was attending a funeral of yet another young DC murder victim. Jamal marks the fourth murder associated to crew violence this summer in the small square mile of asphalt that separates Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and U Street.

Public officials will tell you that the crews have moved on to other parts of the city... so don't believe your lying eyes. We have been here before, a high profile killing that grabs the up and coming part of the city. But then like collective amnesia we move on and forget.

The point being made in article after article is that last week's murder happened in the rapidly gentrifying part of the city. But we can't coffee-shop and bike-lane our way out of this tragedy. There are still numerous people in DC who have degenerated to the point of expressing dissent through murder and haven't learned to disagree without becoming violently disagreeable, no matter where they live. But my hope is that the people who use those coffee shops and bike lanes can and will be the changeif they care enough to do so.

I don't profess to have the answers. If I did, Jamal would not be dead. But I do have some ideas about how we as a communitythe entire communitycan begin to frame the conversation that will hopefully bring about real change and possibly save some lives.

We must demand accountability from our elected leaders, not just sound bites for the 6pm news. The last thing we need is another blue-ribbon panel/commission/taskforce/coffee klatch on how to the fix the problems plaguing our young people and ultimately our city. We need real action.

We need people who are really willing to look at our system and fix it, from how we educate our children to how we adjudicate them. The solutions to our public safety problems need to be enforceable and long-term. Blanket ideas like civil injunctions and curfews, that are not well thought-out, can't be the only solution.

The best way to stop a bullet is an education and a job.

And we must make sure their stories are told. Every young person murdered in this city has someone who loved them. A parent, a grandparent, a friend, a cousin, a mentor. None of these young lives should end up being relegated to just two column-inches buried deep in the Metro section. Their stories need to be told. They must be humanized instead of being turned into a passing sentence or two on a blog, in the paper or on TV.

We must take the time to get to know our neighbors and reach out to the young people in our community. We need to celebrate our differences instead of condemning them.

We must give of our time positively. Every household in this city, no matter how busy the occupants may be, has at least one hour they can give to the community in which they live. We can't simply write a check and think it will all be better. The greatest gift we all have to give is our time and ourselves.

Jamal Coates' family has created a scholarship fund in his memory. Each year, the money will send one boy and one girl from the village where Jamal worked in Guatemala to high school.

Jamal Coates Scholarship Fund
c/o Hoops Sagrado
PO Box 21332
Washington, DC 20009

Bryan Weaver is founder and Executive Director of Hoops Sagrado and was a candidate in the 2010 Democratic primary for Ward 1 representative on the DC Council.

Bryan Weaver is a Ward One community activist, former four-term Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, and founder/director of Hoops Sagrado, a youth leadership and development nonprofit. Bryan is a 20+ year resident of the District, a graduate of Howard University, and lives in Adams Morgan with his wife and their two children. In his spare time he can be found on a city basketball court. 

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There but for the grace of God go I.

I grew up in the projects in DC in the 1960s and '70s. I have seen so much -- far too much. Too many Jamals, too many beautiful young people who begin life as perfect little babies with all the potential and possibilities of any child.

And far too many times I have watched the sad progression, when a baby becomes a sullen 2 year-old (2 year-olds should not be sullen and withdrawn), to 5 year-olds with sad and vacant eyes, and far too often, to young criminals by the time they are 12.

When you live in a world where the difference of 1 city block can mean life or death, when you are surrounded by sadness, deprivation, and desperation, this is often the outcome.

There's so very little hope in the hood today. When I was young we used to have staffed recreation centers. Used to be when a kid showed up, they would pull you into some kind of program, some kind of positive activity, just to keep you busy and off the streets, and away from the negative and destructive influences that constantly called your name. Had it not been for those programs, I don't know where I'd be.

I remember real jobs programs that changed peoples' lives. And I remember the consciousness of those times spurring the creation of my high school, Duke Ellington School for the Arts, that produced one of our greatest jazz trumpeters today, Wallace Roney, and one of our greatest opera singers, Denyce Graves.

But over time, those programs that reached into the hood and grabbed us by the scruff of our necks and showed us something different, showed us possiblities, have fallen by the wayside.

And now, in their place, kids have gangs and crews to look to. The reality is that for many kids, they are a job...and a family.

And our kids are left to drift.

I started seeking help for kids in my hood when I was still a teen. I reached out to my very wealthy pastor and asked that our very wealthy church set up a program for summer activities. I was sent from one pastor to the next, and I was placated, and I was lied to. And nothing ever happened.

Today, I work with a specific group of teens -- skateboarders. Some folks call me crazy and I am. I am crazy because of knowing and interacting with so many beautiful young people, and I see the dangers they don't see. And I see how easily their fates can follow Jamal's, if we don't help and support them in doing something positive, something to keep them away from negative influences and engaged in the pursuit of excellence.

I don't have the words to express my gratitude to you for the work you do. There are so very few who are willing to engage and build relationships with kids who are more often feared than embraced, misunderstood than loved.

I only wish there were more like you, you obviously understand.

Much love and respect to you for all you do for our kids. OUR kids.

by Sk8ter Mom on Oct 5, 2010 1:45 pm • linkreport

But over time, those programs that reached into the hood and grabbed us by the scruff of our necks and showed us something different, showed us possiblities, have fallen by the wayside.

I don't know about this. Seems to me there are still programs, and they still save kids one or two at a time.

But "a thousand points of light" are never going to end the violence, which is driven by the crush of multi-generational poverty. To do that, we need a national reinvention of our social safety net. And that won't happen until the issue of poverty and violence is a suburban problem.

Most voters in America shake their heads, and move on, so long as the kids aren't dying in their neighborhoods.

by oboe on Oct 5, 2010 2:04 pm • linkreport

New resident in the CH, U Street, AdMo area. What are some of the best programs where we can get involved with the youth in the area? Would love to help out after school and on the weekends.

by Emily on Oct 5, 2010 2:12 pm • linkreport

@oboe - the "Thousand points of light" George H.W. Bush meant were volunteers and charities not programs funded at least in part with public means like those sk8termom is referring to. Those were part of a social safety net.

by Tina on Oct 5, 2010 3:18 pm • linkreport

Right, but we cannot "fix" something as profound as multi-generational poverty and the resultant violence via targeted local programs, regardless of whether it's partially funded by DC tax revenues.

There are two types of countries: uncivilized countries that are violent and riven by endemic poverty, and those that provide comprehensive social services on a national level. The US is in the latter camp. Hopefully as the suburban population in the US becomes poorer, we may see an emerging political consensus to fix this.

Until we do, kids are going to keep shooting each other.

by oboe on Oct 5, 2010 3:39 pm • linkreport

@Tina - Yes, yes, thank you for making that point.

There are some nonprofits (and I'm sure Bryan Weaver's Hoops Sagrado is one of them), limping along, struggling for funding, helping the few kids they can afford to reach out to. But my point is that when I was young, ALL of the kids in my hood knew there was a place to go and things to do, to keep them busy during summers and after school. We all knew that.

But I look at the options for poor kids today (I work with many of them) and I hardly see any. I'm in Silver Spring, and when I look at the list of county-run camps each year, they all cost a minimum of $200-$300 a week. The parents of most of the kids I work with can barely pay rent and they couldn't possibly put their kids in those camps. I know kids (in DC and Silver Spring) who've never done a summer camp in their lives, or any summer program of any kind.

So we have kids and teens with time on their hands, nothing to do, and no money to do it with.

I look at the middle class kids I know and I'm happy for them that most spend their summers going from one camp to the next, and travelling with their families. I look at the poor kids I know, and I just want to cry. And I'm not one bit surprised when they lose their way and drop out of school, get caught up in crime, or commit suicide (I know far too many who have.)

by Sk8ter Mom on Oct 5, 2010 3:39 pm • linkreport

When some of the parents in these communities wake up and raise their children there may be some hope. My mother is trying to reach out to children by mentoring them. we have ran into so many mothers who dont want their children to do anything to culture themselves, to get outside of SE and see the world.

I shake my head in pity, we have to wake up and raise our children. Show them that there is more to life then hanging out on the block, and destoying property. We can't keep blaming the schools, because what the schools can't teach you in how to survive and live in everyday society.

My mother and I didn't have much, but she gave me a lot instead of spending tons of money on cloths, toys, and silly things she took that money and put me in dance classes, karate, girl scouts just to expose me. I still live in SE and believe that there is potential.

by DCCHICK on Oct 5, 2010 3:50 pm • linkreport

@oboe - I agree w/ you. Here's hoping. I think Bryan Weaver and sk8termom's "call to action" to us readers is "until that time comes, get involved." Perhaps even, "...after that time comes, kids will still need you".

by Tina on Oct 5, 2010 3:55 pm • linkreport

@Tina and oboe - thanks to both of you for your insights and your input, and for caring enough to share it.

by Sk8ter Mom on Oct 5, 2010 4:01 pm • linkreport

The Jamal Coates killing was tragic. So are the others. I think we need something more specific here in terms of what to do, besides getting to know our neighbors and reaching out to young people, giving an hour to the community (who doesn't already do that?) and less coffee-shopping and bikelaneing, whatever that means.

We're used to hearing strategies about how to avoid violence, but what can DC residents do to prevent violence in our community?

by Ward 1 Guy on Oct 5, 2010 4:42 pm • linkreport

Six degrees of separation.

My 20 year-old son's name is also Jamal -- Elijah Jamal, a Howard University student and successful jazz musician. He regularly plays in jazz clubs on U Street. He often plays at Bohemian Caverns, a club that's very close to where Jamal Coates was killed.

My Jamal is good friends with someone who was close to Jamal Coates.

My Jamal's life and future were saved by his involvement with music. Based on statistics and the challenges he's had to face in his young life, my Jamal could easily have gone a different route.

I so much wish more of our children would have the chance to identify and develop their talents at a young age. That can serve as a powerful buffer against the negative influences that derail so many young lives.

by Sk8ter Mom on Oct 5, 2010 10:51 pm • linkreport

Rec centers abound throughout DC.

Used to be kids could be entertained playing stickball in the street. No expensive rec centers needed.

Thirty million dollar rec centers are nice, but aren't necessary for raising a child.

We will never solve these problems until we admit we have a cultural problem.

As long as we don't condemn violence in the popular culture we will have a problem.

We still glorify rap stars that preach the 'bling life'.

As long as we are not serious about combating violence we will have violence.

Like it or not one the solution to street violence in public housing projects is constant video surveillance. Require sign-in sheets and constant live police monitoring.

Will it solve the root of the problem? No. But it would be one way to make sitting in the complex and making it a drug den less possible.

Will it be annoying to those not in the drug trade? Maybe so, but in the end it will help them tremendously, by rooting out the problems in their immediate daily surroundings.

Longer term, we need to concentrate on breaking up these massive projects. One goal should be to move as many families with young children to suburban locations as possible. Why? Because that's their only chance at a decent education for their children, at growing up with immediate neighbors that provide positive role models, at getting away from the streetcorner culture that claims so many.

I've never quite understood why so many in the public welfare industry are so adamant about maintaining public housing in the inner city no matter what the cost or outcome. The land is very expensive (eating up a ton of your resources that could be better spent), the atmosphere created is poisonous to the residents, the schools are terrible, the crime is everywhere.

Why do you think it is that so many low income DC residents moved to PG County when they got DC government jobs? Because they wanted a better life for their kids, with better schools, less streetcorner thug culture, etc.

Why don't we emulate that model? The only reason I can see is that there is political value in certain circles in keeping public housing programs in DC proper. So we choose political posturing over the stability and chances of the next generation.

Yes, jobs and education are the answer. But there are plenty of entry level jobs that can lead to better jobs in the DC area (particularly in the suburbs). The construction trades are begging for anyone from totally unskilled laborers to highly skilled plumbers. Restaurants are begging for bus boys, waiters, etc. The federal government constantly hires entry-level workers (although, admittedly, that process can be daunting).

by Hillman on Oct 6, 2010 7:47 am • linkreport

@Hillman -

I didn't tell you my whole story. I talked about my earlier childhood years, when the kids in my neighborhood had places to go and things to do. I didn't tell you about what I experienced later, after those programs that helped us so much were cut one by one, and we were left with nothing but an empty concrete lot to play in.

We didn't play stickball but we did play Kick the Can. Same difference.

We were surrounded by drug dealing and drug dealers who at that time 'served' a mostly suburban clientele.

Those suburban people who you would have had us move near, were the ones coming to my area to buy their drugs.

Directly in front of my home was THE spot where drug buyers parked as they waited for the runners to approach and find out what drugs the buyer wanted to purchase. I could sit in front of my home all day long and see nothing but Maryland and Virginia tags on the vehicles of the buyers. Heck, even work vehicles pulled up to buy...one time someone driving a Red Cross blood truck did.

My mother was run down by people who were at that time being watched by the police because they were suspected of being drug buyers. They ran over my mother, crushing both of her legs, while driving a rented moving truck.

I am now in the suburbs and every day I work with kids who also live in the suburbs. But they're still poor, life isn't better, and while the schools are better for some kids they aren't doing a better job with most of those I work with. And living near suburban folks with money hasn't made their lives one bit better, and possibly worse -- as many of those folks are the very ones who resist all attempts to help these kids.

I lived this Hillman. My guess is that you have not. While your theories might seem logical to you, they don't pan out in real life.

by Sk8ter Mom on Oct 6, 2010 8:14 am • linkreport

Sk8terMom:

I lived a life of extreme childhood poverty. Believe me, it was 'real life'. It was rural, in the heart of Appalachia. We didn't have access to the jobs that DC families have. We didn't have access to a great metro system. We didn't have access to support groups. We didn't have 'rec centers'. We didn't have taxpayers providing us free housing, as those programs simply weren't available in our area. Although we did get food stamps.

I'd argue that from a 'my poverty is worse than yours' standpoint my upbringing was more severe than most of even the 'very poor' in DC. There were eight kids in the family. Many times we were crammed four to a bedroom. We often went without heat, having to rely on a woodstove alone, and it didn't heat the bedrooms. Forget about central air in the summer. Didn't exist. We literally rationed toilet paper (four squares per child per day). We walked a mile to the nearest bus stop. New clothes? Never. Always hand-me-downs and thrift store items.

My father suffered from undiagnosed depression. Us kids all had jobs, from the age of seven or eight, just to make sure we could pay rent on the trailer we lived in. I remember bailing hay in the summer at age ten. I mowed lawns in the summer at the age of eight.

With due respect to your experience, I have to disagree with your conclusion that a suburban experience isn't going to be better for these families, particularly the kids. Sure, you can find some suburban locations with bad schools. But the whole point would be sending these families to good school districts, and positive environments.

by Hillman on Oct 6, 2010 8:38 am • linkreport

@ Hillman - This ISN'T about whose poverty was worse, and mine was just as bad as yours or worse.

What you are not hearing (I'm assuming it's because you don't want to hear it) is that every day I work with suburban kids who experience exactly the same challenges as city kids. And their lives are not better. Living in suburban environments near people with money does not make their lives better...no matter how many times you pound your fist and insist that it will.

by Sk8ter Mom on Oct 6, 2010 8:49 am • linkreport

Well, it certainly helped me. Moving from the wretched rural existence we had to a suburban location with decent schools, decent public transit, decent role models, and decent job opportunities made all the difference for my family.

And it's not 'living near people with money'. It's living in locations that have decent schools, that have decent functioning government programs, have decent opportunities for kids (like music programs, for instance... the very programs that you are saying are so important but aren't available in DC), that have job opportunities.

Are you really saying that these opportunities don't exist in many DC suburbs?

But following your logic, are you saying these families are simply never going to get better, no matter what the surroundings?

by Hillman on Oct 6, 2010 9:09 am • linkreport

@ Hillman - if you're going to respond to my comments I will ask that at the very least you read them.

I will repost what I said earlier, in hopes that this time you will actually read it:

But I look at the options for poor kids today (I work with many of them) and I hardly see any. I'm in Silver Spring, and when I look at the list of county-run camps each year, they all cost a minimum of $200-$300 a week. The parents of most of the kids I work with can barely pay rent and they couldn't possibly put their kids in those camps. I know kids (in DC and Silver Spring) who've never done a summer camp in their lives, or any summer program of any kind.

So we have kids and teens with time on their hands, nothing to do, and no money to do it with.

I look at the middle class kids I know and I'm happy for them that most spend their summers going from one camp to the next, and travelling with their families. I look at the poor kids I know, and I just want to cry. And I'm not one bit surprised when they lose their way and drop out of school, get caught up in crime, or commit suicide (I know far too many who have.)

by Sk8ter Mom on Oct 6, 2010 9:14 am • linkreport

Mr. Weaver-

Thank you for sharing your experience, and for your call to action. I recently lost yet another of the children I work with, and it's easy to feel alone and overwhelmed. Your piece, and the debate in the comments after it, reminded me that I am not alone and that there are many others who care enough to do this work (even to argue about it). I wish you all the best.

by db on Oct 6, 2010 9:35 am • linkreport

See, now, we were having a productive conversation.

Getting all confrontational with the 'at least read my comments' bullshit is not helpful.

Your argument seems to be that since the very specific summer camps in Silver Spring aren't free that there are no resources for poor families in any of the DC suburbs.

I never had summer camp either. But somehow I managed to have a terrific suburban experience, complete with good schools, access to good jobs and role models, a positive social environment, etc.

Would summer camp have been swell? Sure. But there's far more to a nurturing and positive social environment than summer camp.

by Hillman on Oct 6, 2010 9:38 am • linkreport

also, Montgomery County does have some scholarships available for their recreation programs (though the 2010 funding ran out in March, so it's admittedly not sufficient to meet demand).

Montgomery College's summer programs give scholarships, as do the City of Gaithersburg's. It might not be enough for every kid in every suburb, but programs do exist. Plus, libraries and rec centers offer tons of free stuff, much of which doesn't even require registration. I wish there were more. But I also wish there were more parents who sought out summer opportunities for their kids, and more kids interested in doing something fun/rewarding for the summer instead of hanging out.

by sb on Oct 6, 2010 10:07 am • linkreport

@ Hillman - You mentioned music programs. Let's talk about that.

By the time my son graduated high school, he had reached the highest levels of achievement in music for a high school student -- All County, All Sate, Best Soloist in the county, Maryland Distinguished Scholar of the Arts.

My son was THE ONLY poor, minority child his age to achieve at even close to that level. And that's certainly not due to a lack of talent or desire on the part of other kids like him.

Some folks say "See? That's proof that money doesn't matter." No it isn't. My son and I had to break our backs to get him where he is today. Not every parent or kid is able to do that.

The ONLY free music programs I now of in Montgomery County are in the schools. Beginning in 4th grade any kid can choose to learn a musical instrument.

However, you gotta have an instrument. How are you going to get one? Schools only have a handful and those are snatched up quickly. The cost of buying or even renting an instrument is often too high for poor parents (and even for many middle class parents.)

Once you've resolved that issue, you still need to worry about paying for repairs. If you play a reed instrument, you constantly have to buy reeds. You have to buy books. You have to pay for private lessons.

In spite of our willingness to break our backs (and our finances) to get my son to where he is today, he would not be there were it not for the generosity of his private teacher (shoutout to Paul Carr and the Jazz Academy of Music.)

I am blessed beyond belief to have a child who was able to defy the odds against him. I love my children more than life, but I love other peoples kids too, and I wish that more kids like mine would at least have the chance to do the same.

by Sk8ter Mom on Oct 6, 2010 10:07 am • linkreport

Sk8tr:

I'm really glad your son found help through music. Sounds like you did a terrific job raising him. If all parents were as dedicated as you I daresay we'd be having a different conversation today.

But music programs are not going to be everyone's vehicle out of poverty and dysfunction.

You don't have to be involved in an expensive music program to be a success in life.

My basic point remains valid. The educational, social networking, and positive social structure opportunities available in many DC suburbs are vastly better than those in DC.

So we should be trying to get the very poor into those settings.

by Hillman on Oct 6, 2010 10:23 am • linkreport

I'd like to redirect the comments back to Emily's question of where she can volunteer. Bryan Weaver, thank you for your thoughtful posting.

by Laura on Oct 6, 2010 11:40 am • linkreport

I wish I had time to fully pick apart the sneakyness of Weaver's "blame the gentrifiers" argument, but I'll make it quick:

"The best way to stop a bullet is an education and a job."

When you figure out a way to have education without a tax base and jobs without economic growth, let us all know. Until then, don't tell me that in addition to going to work, being active in my community according to my own lights, and occasionally having the audacity to ride a bike or drink a cup of coffee, I also need to be spending my time mentoring youth in order to have a right to expect to live in a safe community. You tell me the problem in my community is me not volunteering enough, but I'm pretty sure it's people not not shooting each other enough.

by RT on Oct 6, 2010 12:00 pm • linkreport

I think that's a bit unfair. "The best way to stop a bullet is an education and a job" seems fairly innocuous to me.

The thing I do disagree with in the OP was that you *can* "coffee-shop and bike-lane" your way out of the cycle of violence. In fact, that's the default path our city's on now. It's called displacement fueled by gentrification. Of course, the response to that is that the violence doesn't go away, it just moves elsewhere. But "that's a feature, not a bug" as they say. Once folks are convinced such problems are intractable, they begin to feel that the second-best option is to quarantine it. Hence the existence of the suburbs.

Having said that, it would be a tragedy to allow gentrification and the resulting displacement to simply move the problem elsewhere. But to avoid that, you need to convince middle-class folks who live in the community to support programs to help the poorest of our neighbors. You do that by convincing them these programs work--and not just for one or two kids, but for large numbers. You do that by convincing middle-class neighbors that the residents of the local housing project are contributing members of society.

As much as it may be therapeutic, you don't do that by alienating the "gentrifiers". You have to win them over as partners. Specifically, the Otherwise, you'll never overcome the understandable cynicism folks have about these programs. There's a reason "midnight basketball" is synonymous with failed social welfare policies of the past. The conventional wisdom is that it may make a difference around the margins, but has no effect on the majority. To change that will take a herculean effort by the social services industry.

by oboe on Oct 6, 2010 1:19 pm • linkreport

In addition to volunteering for my neighborhood association I serve on the board of City Blossoms. It is a non profit that teaches children about gardening, healthy eating & art. CB has multiple gardens & programs in DC, mostly in Shaw & Columbia Heights.
some thoughts...
One of the grand ideas during the Williams days was remaking Sursum Corda into Northwest One. The idea was to redevelop a crime ridden area of 500 units of low income housing into 1500 units of higher density mixed income housing incorporating temporary displacement, giving the existing residents the opportunity to live in the new development. It has been mired in negotiations and since been chopped up if i am not mistaken. I thought the original idea was a good one and its a shame the Fenty Administration never followed through. IMHO concentrated poverty is very hard on a community, mixing it up is good for everyone. i dont want to live in georgetown so I choose to live in mvsq where its very mixed in all ways.

But sometimes its scary & I have had to hit the deck. I will never understand this lack of respect for human life. I am still incredulous when someone picks up a gun and fires it off at another person, sometimes for the smallest of reasons. something very basic is not getting taught to children.

by Si Kailian on Oct 6, 2010 4:04 pm • linkreport

Bryan,

Thank you for writing this.

kc

by Karen Cunningham on Oct 6, 2010 6:19 pm • linkreport

Can we get a statement from one of Jamal Coates' victims?

by George Wallace on Oct 6, 2010 8:59 pm • linkreport

This is very sad. You have to wonder what te 'reality' is for someone who shoot another human being like this. It must be a warped reality to start with ..

by Lance on Oct 6, 2010 11:02 pm • linkreport

I would suggest going to the Greater DC Cares website www.greaterdccares.org and registering. During the registration process, you can select that you are interested in Youth & Education and the Greater Columbia Heights-Petworth area (which includes U St.) ... then you will get an email for all the volunteer opportunities available in the area. They have some excellent programs for kids run by volunteers at Park View Recreation Center, a free GED/SAT tutoring program at Upshur Recreation Center (up 14th St), tutoring in local schools, plus support for a lot of other strong nonprofits and neighborhood groups in the area.

by Maria on Oct 7, 2010 8:42 am • linkreport

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