Thursday, December 29, 2011

In Pictures | Ward 8 braves cold and darkness to rally against oversaturation

My feet are still frozen but it was worth it. I am so glad I attended this morning's 7am rally against the oversaturation of social service facilities in Ward 8, specifically in Ward 8 business corridors.

Despite the darkness and the F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G cold Ward 8 residents and community leaders began congregating early for this morning's 7am rally. Equipped with day-glo signs, hugs, and plenty of passion the next 75 minutes was filled with calls for more economic development, a strong business district, jobs, and even a new Ward 8 council member.  The initial group of approximately twenty attendees quickly grew to about 60. Several members of the media were also present. Noticeably absent was Council Member Marion Barry or members of his office.

Speakers included Ward 8 Council Candidate Natalie Williams, ANC 8A Chairperson Anthony Muhummad, ANC 8A Commissioner Greta Fuller (her impassioned speech moved many), Graylin Presberry (President, Fairlawn Civic Association), Darrin Davis (Owner, Anacostia River Realty), and Rev OJ representing the Frederick Douglass Improvement Council. Children of Mine founder (and community matriarch) Hannah Hawkins also said a few words as well myself. The focus of today's rally might have been the perceived oversaturation of social services in Ward 8 but it quickly became a testimonial on the perceived failings of Ward 8 Council Member Marion Barry. The consensus was pretty unanimous, folks were "fed up" with what they perceived was yet another example of Barry's failed leadership, empty rhetoric,  and community disconnect. Several attendees went as far as to claim Barry had either been "bought off" in exchange for his silence or was complacent. Others called for the community to "flood his council email [] with demands for action and an apology to the community."

Today's rally was organized by Ward 8 Council Candidate Natalie Williams but community leaders from both sides of the political trail came out in support of this community rally. Current Ward 8 Council Candidate Jacque Patterson (who is coordinating his own demonstration for 2012) and former Ward 8 Council candidate Charles Wilson (and current ANC 8A Commissioner) were also in attendance. One of my favorite Congress Heights ANC Commissioners, Nicole Pugh Martin (ANC 8E01) also came out in support. Despite the political climate there was no campaigning or signature collecting, only community members coming out and uniting around a common goal, the prosperity of Ward 8.

Today's rally put Calvary Women's Services on notice, Marion Barry on notice, the Mayor on notice, and the entire District political structure on notice that Ward 8 will no longer sit idly by as the preferred "dumping ground" for the city's social service facilities.

Posting pictures I took of this morning's rally with video of all the speeches to follow.

Members of the media are welcome to use the photos but must credit:
 "Congress Heights on the Rise ("

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1 comment:

Ward 8 resident said...

Well Temple of PRAISE on Southern tried that BS on Brandywine....They succumbed to criticism, and scrapped the project. Maybe Calvary will too. What church wants bad press?

Good job Ward 8.

Maybe the next step is to protest during Sunday services?