I've been letting this sink in for the last half an hour and after a short (but intense) crying jag I am starting to believe this is really happening to me. Words can't express how unreal this feels at this moment. Right before my best friend David Garber broke the news on Twitter that I was on the cover of this week's Washington City Paper I was dealing with the reality of a dead car battery. Talk about a reversal of fortune! (although I can still use a jump)
Go HERE to read my profile by Housing Complex reporter, Aaron Wiener in this week's People Issue.
The idea that anyone -- anywhere -- would think enough of the work that I do to write about it, let alone put my face on the cover of the most popular and respected newspaper in the city is really blowing my mind! I keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. For goodness sakes I'm wearing "A Christmas Story" pajamas while I am blogging this! Shouldn't I be in a suit or something?! Stuff like this doesn't happen to me. I am a behind-the-scenes kind of person (hence the alter ego) and that is generally how I like it. The realization that people all over DC are going to know about little old me is really cool (and a tad bit terrifying if I were to be honest). I hope that people read my profile and learn a little bit more about east of the river and all the wonderful things that make this place a great place to call home (even if it feels like you have to fight for every bit of progress).
I know I speak for community advocates everywhere when I say that the driving force behind our work is the desire to make things better -- not the fame (and lord knows not the money). That is all I ever wanted to do, was contribute in some little way to help make my block better. The fact that my work has extended to include Congress Heights, and then Anacostia and Ward 8 is something I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams. It just took on a life of its own. Along the way I have met some amazing people -- both personally and professionally who have guided me on this journey and made it possible for "The Advoc8te" to even exist and for Nikki Peele to be an accepted member of this community. I rely on the kindness, knowledge, commitment, and support of community residents to make it happen. I am thankful that I have a job that not only allows me opportunities to do the things I do but gives me the tools and access to do them. My colleagues have never stood in the way of me speaking my mind (even though I am sure I have put them in sticky situations at times). I am so very thankful for my boss, Duane Gautier and my colleagues at ARCH Development Corporation for taking a chance on me and giving me an opportunity to support their vision. I am so appreciative of my fellow neighborhood warriors like Greta Fuller, Catherine Buell, Charles Wilson, Charles Lindsay, Tommie Adams Jr. and my darling Jeff Herrell. And of course no acknowledgments would be complete without mentioning my best friend and #SoutheastLove partner David Garber who made this all possible by inspiring me with his neighborhood blog, And Now, Anacostia all those years ago. David was the first person to ever interview me for a story so it is so funny that he would be the one to tell me I made the cover of this week's Washington City Paper. How's that for life?
I thank you all, my amazing readers, friends, partners, and colleagues for your support over the years and thank you for hanging in here with me on this journey. Words can't express how loved I feel in this moment.
Nikki Peele AKA The Advoc8te