Friday, September 06, 2013

Statement from Brian Townes about that WBJ article on east of the river gentrification

When I started CHotR five years ago it was to create a platform for my neighbors and I to be able to tell the story of our experiences living in Ward 8. True, I tend to be the one doing the writing and you guys the reading but sometimes I am able to provide someone with a platform to share their experience. It is with that in mind that I am posting a statement from one of our neighbors, Brian Townes on that Washington Business Journal article that came out earlier in the week. The article was about the proposed "gentrification" of east of the river neighborhoods and included quotes from Brian. At the time he gave the interview Brian was under the impression the article was going to be about Congress Heights real estate. When the article was published Brian was disappointed to find out the article was actually about gentrification with a focus on race.  Disappointed Brian wanted to share his reasoning for participating in the article in the first place and his frustration on the story's focus on race. 

Below you will find Brian's statement, in full, and unedited. I give Brian much props and respect for being brave enough to share his thoughts and feelings here.  I know it can be a little intimidating but this is what community is about.  I also appreciate Brian's desire to share his experience as a Ward 8 resident, neighbor, and friend. I too can relate to the feelings of community that I share with my neighbors and friends here -- regardless of race and economic standing we are family and treat each other as such on a daily basis. 

Statement from Brian Townes, Congress Heights resident

Brian and his neighbors and friends Johnna and her mom Keisha 
I've lived here in Congress Heights since 2007. I have made friends with my neighbors. We've exchanged numbers. We all look out for the neighborhood, watch over all of our cars and keep everyone informed. We share gardening ideas and plants. We've even played tennis and have gone on walks together. We all speak and keep up with who is doing what. So I was very disappointed that the WBJ article mentioned race when I asked, and was told, that it would not.

The article should have been about real estate investment in Congress Heights. I am a realtor and an investor, and I believe in Congress Heights and yes one of my renters is a white couple. No mention of the other renters, a professional, and a full time student, both black.

As far as 'gentrification' goes, How many more times are we going to bring out the dead horse for more beatings? Who wouldn't want clean nice things and safe neighborhoods? I'm not the first nor the only white person in Congress Heights. And there will likely be more once they start building new housing.

Maybe we should stop being so sensitive about this and just agree that we all work together for the common goal of making CH a better place for everyone. I just wanted to make sure that your readers know more about me than what was printed in that article.

Thank you,

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Anonymous said...

Where is the "like" button for this article- thumbs up, Brian!


Robert said...

I agree with Barb. Thumbs up, Brian! I know from experience that journalists often already have the story idea in their heads before they even do the interviews. Then when you read the article, you're left scratching your head as to how what you said got translated into what was printed. Thanks for taking the time to clarify and for being a good neighbor.

Alan Page said...
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Alan Page said...
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h st ll said...

I don't think he was portrayed particularly negatively...

I respect dude for putting himself out there.