LET'S TALK ABOUT COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION IN WARD 8 WITHOUT USING THE WORD "GENTRIFICATION"
Hey folks -- I am doing something different today. I am mirroring two posts that I've created on a Ward 8 social media group. I have no doubt there will be a LOT of comments on the subject. But because I didn't want to exclude those who may not be members, or who may want to include their comments on a bigger platform I am creating the same posts here on CHotR. Please see below for details.
DISCUSSION #1: Let's talk about COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION in Ward 8. What does community revitalization look like to you? What are the benefits? What steps are being taken now and what can be done in the future to encourage responsible community revitalization? Have we learned from the mistakes of the past so that the focus is on equitable development?
PLEASE NOTE: THE WORD "GENTRIFICATION" IS BANNED FROMM THIS POST, INCLUDING IN THE COMMENTS. COMMENTS THAT INCLUDE THE WORD "GENTRIFICATION" OR THAT ARE INTENDED TO DISTRACT/DISRUPT FROM THIS DIALOGUE WILL BE DELETED, IMMEDIATELY. The focus of this conversation is on "community revitalization." I will be creating a separate post: Discussion #2: Systematic exclusion of low-income residents to to increased housing costs ("gentrification" will be banned on that post too). Feel free to post on one or both posts. I'm looking forward to a respectful and insightful dialogue on both subjects.
You may be asking yourself, "Why is Nikki banning the word "gentrification" on her two posts? Well I am happy to tell you! :) The word "gentrification" means something different to everyone. For some it means "community revitalization" for others it means "systematic exclusion of low-income residents due to increased housing costs." And it is OKAY to have conversations about BOTH of those topics. But trying to use ONE WORD that has such varied meanings depending on the person makes it impossible to have a clear, direct, focused and factual discussion when everyone is talking about different things. It's like trying to have a conversation when one person is speaking in chinese and the other person is speaking japanese -- things get lost in translation. Also, and most importantly for me, the word "gentrification" has evolved into a sensationalized term, it's click-bait. Let me be the first to say, I am not a professional journalist, however, for the past 8 years I've written Congress Heights on the Rise, freelanced for several DC outlets, given countless interviews (in print and on-camera) and I have set on more panels than I can shake a stick at. Every single year I get requests from Doctoral students (sometimes as many as 3 or 4 A WEEK) who want to interview me about the G-word, so much so I had to create an auto-response on my email that I don't do gentrification interviews. That said, I am in marketing (and pretty successful at it if I may say) and let me tell you honestly, if an outlet/blogger/organization/show wants to guarantee high readership of an article or high attendance of an event they put "Gentrification" somewhere in the headline/title. It is guaranteed to create a buzz and outrage -- you only need to look at the comments on this page to see that.
I myself have pointed this out on my blog for years. I've posted an article -- the same article -- with a title that included "Gentrification" and a title that did not. Without fail, the post with the "gentrification" title would have 5 to 10 times the amount of reader traffic than the post that didn't have it. So I am telling you, as directly and honestly as I can. STOP FALLING FOR THE GIMMICK! Not only is it causing division within our community (that just makes us weaker as a whole) but is stocking the fires of SUSPICION when we should be working together for SOLUTIONS.
FYI - I am also going to post both of this discussions on CHotR -- feel free to post your comment there as well.