DC Discussion on Slavery Reparations Makes Light of Its Role in Structural Racism
The District is seeking reparations for slavery. Yet, it has offered no compensatory relief for the racial injury that it directly caused in the last two decades. Public housing residents, gentrified communities, and victims of the early 2000s lead crisis have plausibly suffered acute emotional, economic, and physical harm. The District exacerbated the residual effects of institutionalized racism. If reparations should be made, they should begin first with these populations. It makes little sense for the District to call for reparations when its phalanx of lawyers is currently challenging several personal injury and class action lawsuits on contemporary sources of racial policy violence. The District needs to accept responsibility in these cases and develop a compensatory schema for broad classes of injury. The policy discussion on slavery reparations is a political cover-up of the highest magnitude.
Open Letter to DC Council on Slavery Reparations
Several Council members support the reintroduction of a bill to establish a panel to study and develop reparations proposals for African Americans in the District of Columbia. While descendants of US slavery deserve reparations, it does not make much sense in the context of vast and growing racial inequity in DC.
Rethinking Race and Black History Month
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser joined Chairman Phil Mendelson, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and two US Senators in a press conference on January 24 to discuss a bill to grant District statehood. The mood of an otherwise choreographed and celebratory event suddenly shifted when this paper directed a question to U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), "The District has some of the worst racial health and economic disparities. A 2020 study showed that (the racial difference in) life expectancy in the US is shrinking but is growing in the District. The income inequality by race is now $100,000. Is this the type of government that we can expect under statehood?"
Remembering SW's role in Supporting Dr. Martin Luther King's Legacy
A group of 300 residents from Southwest marched to the US Senate on June 3, 1964 to encourage passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 according to the Washington Post. Black and White residents from River Park, Greenleaf, Capitol Park Apartments (now Potomac Place), Capitol Park Towers, Capitol Park condos, and properties in Southwest Towncenter. "March coordinator Shirley Lockwood told [Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin] the group acted so a neighborhood with no great social problems because of Negro and white living side by side may stimulate and encourage other communities less open to change to accept every man as an individual regardless of his race." The group was also received by former SW resident and Vice President Hubert Humphrey who was US Senator at the time.
View 1964 Post Article (left)
Prison Color Used as Psychological Weapon
I recently visited friends in Greenleaf Family Midrise Apartments. It was an otherwise uneventful start. I signed in with security and took the elevator. With my bike in tow, I stepped off the elevators. To my shock and horror, the recent renovations in Greenleaf had taken a turn for the worse. The distinct blue color used in prisons confronted me. The doors and trim were all painted in the same color as in the stock image of a prison above. Each door had a foot-wide blue area on the left that ran the length of the door.
This was "psychological," noted someone in the hallway. "Intentional," exclaimed another. This shade of cobalt blue is used for institutions, often associated with law and order and places with institutionalized populations. "I don't live in a prison, but they sure painted it to make me look like I live in one," said Patricia Bishop, President of Greenleaf Family Midrise Apartments. "When I do a walk-through with the newly elected (DCHA) Board, I will request a more positive color to represent Greenleaf." DCHA's color choice is intended to convey authority and control. It appears on the outside doors of the Metropolitan Police Department First District building on M Street, just across the street from Greenleaf.
DC Should Become Bicameral, ANCs to Become DC House of Representatives
Former DC Mayor and Ward 7 Councilor Vincent Gray's public anger with Chairman Phil Mendelson's committee reorganization plan highlights a more serious issue with governance in the District. According to the Post, Mendelson claimed that Gray's health "interfered with (Gray's) capacity to manage the Health Committee’s robust workload." Gray contends that use of his health status following a stroke inaccurately and unlawfully mischaracterizes his capacity. Mendelson's concern about the demands of the committee "workload" reflects the acute crisis in Council governance. There is insufficient oversight of the Executive because the District has too few elected officials in its legislative body. As the Gray-Mendelson drama illustrates, the personal health challenges of a single Council member can expose major cracks in an already broken system. The situation is at crisis level with Mendelson declaring in an August 2022 tweet that, "This also speaks to a wider problem of the Executive not following the law." Mendelson diagnosed only part of the problem.
Southwest Coalition Calls on Council to Vote "No" on DCHA Bill 24-1144
Position Statement of the
Southwest Black Families Equity Coalition
The Southwest Black Families Equity Coalition calls on DC Council to reject Bill 24-1144, the “District of Columbia Housing Authority Stabilization and Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2022” at the legislative meeting scheduled for December 20, 2022. The bill to reform the DC Housing Authority Board on an emergency basis reinforces the findings of the HUD report that DCHA and the District work against the interests of residents.
The removal of two of the three resident-elected Commissioners is yet another affront to Black families who pay our rent yet live in public housing conditions that neither the Mayor nor Council would permit their pet. We have repeatedly asked DCHA to follow the law to provide fair and equal housing, rather than pursue policies of displacement and gentrification. Diminishing our voice and representation on the Board signals that DCHA, DC Council, and the Mayor have no intent to see through racial equity. We had a full and transparent electoral process for resident commissioners in January 2022. The three resident positions on the Board must be preserved. In addition to Board members such as Bill Slover and Ann Hoffman, the records of past and current resident-elected Commissioners have exercised greater independence than the interest-driven cabal on the DCHA Board. It is because of resident leaders and advocates that full-scale privatization of public housing and more acute displacement did not occur.
While we support having a representative from the Interagency Council on Homelessness (Theresa Silla) and presentation of voucher holders (Ronnie Harris), neither position was elected by residents. Their appointment should not come at the expense of families currently residing in public housing.
Mayoral control of the Board has prevented DCHA from fulfilling its mission to serve the most vulnerable resident population and from exercising independence from the Executive. The HUD report criticized Mayor Bowser’s appointees as “vot(ing) as a group without individual review of the action requested.” After the initial version of Bill 24-1144 was released, the DC Office of Attorney General published its report criticizing mayoral control of the Board, “In order to address the dysfunction at DCHA, we believe we must start with making DCHA truly independent.” Bill 24-1144 does not achieve sufficient independence. There are considerable gaps in knowledge about the political activity of named appointees in Bill 24-1144, including campaign donations to the Mayor and DC Council members.
DCHA officials, DC Council, and the Mayor created this crisis - officials through negligence and corruption, DC Council through lax oversight and complicity, and the Mayor through her proxies. Rather than strengthen DC code Section 6-211 which governs the DCHA Board, Bill 24-1144 seeks to jettison the law because it became too much of an inconvenience to DCHA. It is widely reported that DCHA circumvented the law that the Board approve contracts and services over a set dollar amount by creating multiple increments of smaller contracts. Section 6-211 does not provide procedures for radical changes of the DCHA Board of this magnitude. It leaves little doubt in our minds that Bill 24-1144 is precisely what the HUD audit warned about - the lack of independence of DCHA from political influence and deep-seated corruption and cronyism. Bill 24-1144 is intended to grease the wheel for developer profits while our families' lives and homes are placed as bargaining chips. We shall not be idle spectators to the diminution and destruction of the law and Constitution, which guarantee us equal protection and fair and equal housing.
The Mayor, Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilors Kenyan McDuffie and Anita Bonds, and Ward 6 Councilor Charles Allen were all re-elected in November. None of the candidates indicated their support for the Board to be reformed by removing Resident Commissioners. Mendelson has indicated that he has the support of nine Council members, which means that several candidates hid their position and abused the American democratic process.
We are aware that there is grave concern inside Council that Chairman Mendelson is poised to use his committee chairmanship and appointment powers as leverage for a December 20 bill. Our anonymous source lamented, “The day after the vote, the Chairman will also tell Councilmembers what committees they will be assigned to chair or serve on for the next years. He has distraction plus leverage."
The Southwest Black Families Equity Coalition Calls on DC Council to reject Bill 24-1144 and seek comprehensive, measured reform in the next Council period.
The Southwest Black Families Equity Coalition Partners
Dena Walker, President of Greenleaf Gardens Resident Council, Patricia Bishop, President of Greenleaf Family Midrise; Rhonda Hamilton, President of Syphax Resident Council; Community Allies - Southwest Voice: The People's People and Christopher Williams, President of Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association
DC Office of Health Equity Succumbs to Gentrification Forces, Report Lacks Analysis
The DC Council voted to approve the Congress Heights Small Area Plan in mid-November. The legislation received unanimous approval from all 12 members of Council present for voting. Situated in the District's most socially and economically vulnerable Ward, the effects of intense redevelopment will be felt throughout Ward 8 for generations and well beyond the technical boundaries of the study area. The Plan focuses on the area bounded by St. Elizabeths and Suitland Parkway, Stanton Road SE, Oxon Run Parkway SE, and I - 295. Intended to be "implemented through private redevelopment and public investment," the Plan makes an alarming admission — the District seeks to push the gentrification wave eastward through land use decisions and public subsidy.
DC's Racial Equity Plan Seeks Slow Pace of Change, Overlooks Deep Social Inequity
ga gaThe District recently released its proposed Racial Equity Action Plan to the public. Open for public comment until January 2, the 44-page document can appear to reassure residents that the District is preparing for a course-correction. Except it is not. Positioning its challenge of "undoing hundreds of years of discrimination" is disingenuous and deflecting blame. Leveling the playing field has been within the District's locus of control since Home Rule, even more so after the end of the Control Board when its coffers swelled. The District's tax revenue per capita from 2002-2019 increased by $6,500 - a rate of growth more than any US state. Yet, Southwest Voice's own research has shown that one-third of neighborhoods in Washington, DC saw a decline in Black median household income from 2010-2019 when the economy went from recession to expansion. Black median household income in DC of $42,000 is less than a third of the whites' at $134,000 - part of a national trend revealing no progress in reducing racial income and wealth inequalities between blacks and whites over the past 70 years. Black-white life expectancy gap by gender is 12 and 17 years, respectively for women and men, even greater in low-income neighborhoods like Anacostia. Despite consistent literature on vast racial gaps in life expectancy and health outcomes, the District has no coherent public policy approach. The plan fails to respond to the people's mandate for racial reform and anticipates no change in the systems of power that perpetuate modern-day structural oppression and racism
ANC6D Discriminating Against Seniors, Low-Income, Racial Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities
The Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC6D) for Southwest does not allow any member of the public to testify live at ANC6D meetings unless they provide a written testimony and topic for discussion at least 48 hours in advance. This policy, which has been in place since the mayor declared a Covid-19-related public health emergency, is discriminatory against seniors, low-income residents, racial minorities, and persons with disabilities. "They are violating the American Disabilities Act," said Patricia Bishop, President of Greenleaf Midrise and a senior with disabilities. It is this paper's position that the ANC6D needs re-training and a change in policy.
SW DC Residents Lead New Public Health Movement
Southwest DC residents recently announced the publication of their white paper, "Public Health Liberation – An Emerging Transdiscipline to Elucidate and Transform the Public Health Economy". ANC6D Commissioner Rhonda Hamilton, Greenleaf Midrise President Patricia Bishop, Greenleaf Gardens President Dena Walker, and Southwest Voice Editor-in-Chief Chris Williams developed a sweeping 21-page radical reconceptualization of public health, along with an international group of diverse authors from the US, Canada, and Uganda.
How Ethical and Transparent is the Community Land Trust Discussion in SW?
"Last Friday, June 3rd, SW Action held a rally at 4th & M Streets SW to advocate for the parcels, located at 425 and 375 M Street, to be purchased by the DC government and transferred to the Douglass Community Land Trust. "
This is the opening line to a press release from SW Action in June of this year announcing that it had held a rally urging the District to not only buy privately owned land at 4th and M St SW, but also to subsequently transfer ownership to another private entity — the Douglass Community Land Trust. The audacity of the request struck this paper as unethical and highly questionable, as we will discuss.
Discriminatory Practice & Community Center: Request to ANC for Denial of Contract to Operate
The Southwest Voice Editorial Board unanimously adopted a resolution respectfully requesting that the Advisory Neighborhood Commission ANC6D deny authorization to the Board of Southwest DC Community Center (SWDCC) to operate the proposed community center at 4th and M St SW. The SWDCC Board is not representative of Southwest racially or by income. We are dissatisfied with the composition of the Board and its lack of community outreach and tabling in our communities containing low-income households and Black residents.
DC Elections Raise Questions
Southwest Voice recently called for the District of Columbia to generate a semi-annual report on voter turnout rates by race. That article was positively received and widely circulated. In a follow-up, this paper seeks to raise concerns about additional issues concerning the integrity of elections in the District. We call upon the District to immediately study these issues and satisfactorily address these concerns in the current legislative session.
SW Voice Calls Upon Attorney General to Investigate Hoffman
Editor calls upon Attorney General to immediately initiate an investigation into Hoffman and Associates based on OAG’s legal authority under protecting the public interest and to enforce the disparate impact rule codified under the Department of Housing and Urban Development discrimination housing practices and intercede now to prevent Hoffman from further construction activity and building occupancy in Southwest to prevent further harm to Southwest residents, especially its Black population.
SW Voice Endorses Candidates for 2022 Election Season
Issue: SW Voice Endorsements: Robert White (DC Mayor) | Phil Mendelson (Council Chairman), Lisa Gore (at-Large), Bruce Spiva (Attorney General); Opposing Candidacy: Charles Allen (Ward 6) | The District Must Protect Black Women and Families Against Structural Violence | DC Systematically Centralizing Patient Data | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
DCHA's Structural Violence Against Black Women
Southwest Voice is calling for an end to structural violence against Black women leaders and families in public housing. DC Housing Authority's continuing policies of Black displacement and repeated harm are forms of structural racism. We urgently call on DC Council to fund legal defense funds for resident councils undergoing redevelopment. Read on for more discussion and our call to action to the Black middle class and advocacy communities to defend Black women leadership and support their fierce commitment to community.
April 2022 Issue
Issue: Remembering the Pearl Escape of 1848 | Titanic 110th Anniversary | DC Must Address Structural Racism | Local Church Sponsors Scholarship Program | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
Feature Story: The Pearl Escape of 1848 - April 15th marks the 174th anniversary of the Pearl Escape - the largest known escape attempt by enslaved people in American history. It occurred at the Southwest waterfront in 1848. Until recently, the Pearl Escape had been mostly a footnote in history, except among local historians and cultural preservationists. The Pearl Group formed in 2021 to share the story with a wider audience and celebrate Southwest's rich heritage in partnership with other community groups including the Pearl Coalition. The Pearl Group has grown this year thanks to generous grant support from the Diverse City Fund. The weekend event has now become a month-long remembrance.
DC Must Address Structural Racism
The economic and health reality for African Americans in Washington, DC does not live up to the promise of equal protection or racial equality. Yet the political establishment through successive administrations and city councils continues to punt the need for addressing structural racism and inequality for at least the last 20 years. Kicking the can down the road is no longer a tenable position. As we illustrate, the lived experiences of Black DC residents are starkly different from other racial and ethnic groups. The severe health burden due to the social determinants of health remains a lingering injustice more than 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement. An often quoted mantra from that era, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” is as relevant today as it was then.
Betrayal: No Build First for Greenleaf
Editor’s Testimony to DCHA Board of Commissioners about Greenleaf
Issue: Greenleaf Betrayed | Public Statement from Greenleaf Gardens President Dena Walker | Public Statement from Greenleaf Midrise President Patricia Bishop | Was Greenleaf Build First a Farce All Along? | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
Call for Greater Attention to Racial/Gender HIV Disparities
Laquandra Nesbitt, MD, MPH Director, DC Department of Health
cc: DC Council Committee on Health, Phil Mendelson, email@example.com, DC CFAR Community Partnership Council (CPC)
Addressing HIV/AIDS and Racial/Intersectional Disease Burden: Call for a Specific Strategy
Dear Director Nesbitt,
The latest Annual Epidemiology & Surveillance Report of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration (HAHSTA) highlights the tremendous progress in the District addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The mortality and incidence rates have declined steeply in the last decade. However, the data show startling racial and intersectional disparities, as the tables in the report illustrate (below). Southwest Voice calls on the Department of Health to explore more tailored, evidence-based interventions to address the HIV burden among Black residents, Black men who have sex with men, and Black heterosexual women. Black MSM are 34% of newly diagnosed HIV cases, followed by Black heterosexual women (15%). Increasing screening among this population could theoretically explain these trends, but that does not appear to be an effect since the report acknowledges “disruptions to screening services”. Comprehensive HIV testing, linkage to care, retention in care and adherence interventions for black MSM have shown to be more effective over behavioral interventions (Source). Black women are increasingly acutely vulnerable, accounting for 60% of newly diagnosed HIV cases among US women. We implore DOH to commit more HIV/AIDS training, resources, and population-based strategies to reduce the high burden of disease among these populations.
(Table on left accompanied the letter)
View report raising concerns about HIV/AIDS research funding and racial and sexual minorities.
Editor Files Suit Against Congress and Council
Issue: SW Voice Editor Files Suit Against Congress and Council | SW Voice Interview with Senator Joe Manchin | Housing Authority Headed Toward Receivership | Deepest Condolences | SW Coalition Prepares for Annual Cultural Event | Poetic Voice Corner | A Quiet Place
Southwest Voice Interviews
Senator Joe Manchin
Senator Joe Manchin
Exclusive: We had an impromptu interview with the U.S. Senator who holds the key to the President's agenda. Subscribe to receive issue in your inbox.
Who is Enforcing the US Constitution in DC?
Issue: Who is Enforcing the US Constitution in DC | SW Leaders Led National Webinar | Greenleaf President Dena Walker Issues Open Letter | Attorney General Takes on Zoning Commission | Support for Eriq Martin - Young SW Artist | Remembering Barbara Jordan - Former SW resident | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
SW Hosts National Webinar on Structural Barriers and Social Determinants of Health
Issue: SW Hosts National Webinar on Structural Barriers and Social Determinants of Health | Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association Retains Legal Representation | DC Officials Makes Case Against Statehood | Creating Affirming LGBTQIA+ Spaces | SW Women on Reaching 100 | Poetic Voice | Quiet Space
Video on Southwest Social Injustices Goes Viral - 19,000 Views in One Week
Southwest Voice Editor-in-Chief, discusses Southwest's social and historical injustices in wide-ranging interview with Legal Zone with Attorney John Salatti, Dr. Arlena Cheney, and Attorney Solon Phillips
Press Release - Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association Lawyers-Up
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2021
SOUTHWEST, WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association recently retained the Law Offices of Paul Strauss & Associates, P.C. The tenant association faces dual challenges - the prospect of sharply rising rents in early 2022 and an ownership transfer that many experts believe is violating tenants' legal rights. Mr. Strauss & Associates are providing legal support for residents to contest the building owners' claims that residents' rights under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) are exempted. Rather than accept these claims, which no government agency has evaluated for accuracy or substantiated, the CPPT Tenant Association is seeking to exercise all avenues to uphold the law. Read Complete Statement
Low-income Residents Face Crises in SW
Urgent message from Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association
October 14, 2021
My name is Diva Samai. I write to you as Co-President of the Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association. I am going to be blunt. We're in crisis mode here. We are facing dual challenges - the prospect of sharply rising rents in early 2022 and an ownership transfer that experts believe is violating our legal rights. We are a low-income housing tax credit building (LIHTC). 65% of our units are low-income, which means that the government provides housing security through property-based rent subsidies for financially vulnerable residents such as seniors, those with disabilities, and low-income households. Like Southwest as a whole, we reflect a rich tapestry of diversity in family/household size, income, age, and race/ethnicity.
We are committed to all of our CPPT neighbors like Angela G. (read her story below) whose livelihood hangs in the balance. As tenant association Co-President, I want to talk about our challenges and ask for your support. Thank you so much for taking the time to read our story. Because of neighbors like you, Southwest can continue to be a resilient and vibrant community. Will you join CPPT residents and other community partners by considering a donation or other forms of support? Read More
Co-President, Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenant Association
"I have repeatedly asked the management office for a lease renewal. They are still ignoring me. I am retired on a limited income, so if they are planning to hold off on renewing my lease to significantly raise it in the new year, I don't know what I am going to do." - Dax, age 72
How to Spot a Poverty Pimp: SW Action, Charles Allen, DCHA
Issue: Special Issue: How to Spot a Poverty Pimp | Congratulations to Council Presidents | Parking Wars in SW | DC Misspent Funds for Low-Income | Council Claims It Does Have to Follow the Law | Editor's Corner | From the Archives | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
Paul Taylor Organizes Another Successful Summer in Lansburgh
Issue: Summer in Lansburgh | SW Resident Joins Others in Lawsuit Against City | Election Day for Public Housing Communities | Media Challenges with Reporting Gun Violence | SW Voice Intern Cody Paddack | Redistricting | From the Archives | Poetic Voice | Quiet Place
The Future of SW: Moving to Ward 2 or Ward 8?
Issue: Southwest Changing Wards: The Obvious Path? | Southwest Community Awards | Project SW: Community Survey Results | Capitol Park Plaza and Twins Tenants Organize | From the Archives: Historical Significance of Greenleaf Gardens | Poetic Voice | A Quiet Place
Greenleaf Women Protest, Pride Stories from Residents
Issue: Greenleaf Women Protest for Community | Pride Stories | Community Honors | Social Costs of BIDs | From the Archives | Poetry Corner | A Quiet Place
$100,000 Scandal Breaks
Cover Story: Litsky's $100,000 Scandal | "No Chip for Me" and Other Perceptions of the Unvaccinated in SW | How Resident Overcame Fears to Get Vaccinated | Archives: SW Marches for Civil Rights | GGW Report Gets it Wrong (Again) | Housing Authority Director is Out | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
Correction: The ANC did not vote unanimously in support of the project. The vote to support the project was only 5 (out of 7) commissioners in favor. In a separate vote, the ANC did vote unanimously to approve giving an ANC testimony supporting the project at the Zoning Commission hearing on Cotton Annex.
Greenleaf Balks at Impending Displacement
Greenleaf refuses to be displaced - to issue own proposal.
Greenleaf redevelopment is turning out to be business as usual for the DC Housing Authority - incompetence, broken promises, and decisions that veer away from common sense and equity-centered development. In February, we reported on a whistleblower's allegations of procurement violations regarding the redevelopment. Read More
Mendelson, White leave SW in Shock, Disappointment
In-depth Cover Story: State of Shock Following Council Meetings | Greenleaf in Crisis | Remembering 1848 SW Escape of Enslaved Families | SW Vaccination Site | Poetry Corner | Quiet Place .
Washington, DC Shifts to
Jim Crow Economy
Jim Crow Economy
One-third of neighborhoods in Washington, DC saw a decline in Black median household income. Based on US Census tract four-year averages between 2010-2014 and 2015-2019, 48 out of 143 Census tracts saw an overall decline in Black income. The average among these tracts was -$14,633. Across all tracts for which data on Black median income was available (143 out of 179), household income spanning eight years only increased by $6,884. A Census block that does not have data for either or both periods are not included in analysis. These may include tracts with no African American households. Two outliers for tracts 11001000600 and 11001000802 were removed.
March Issue Released
Press Release: March 2021 Issue of Southwest Voice: The People's Paper
Hoffman Report | SW Voice Editor Takes on Build Mindset | Environmental Study Gets Underway | An Indictment of Charles Allen | Pandemic and Gentrification | Greenleaf Redevelopment: Black Box | Poetry Corner | Quiet Place
Census-level Analysis of Hoffman Developments
Southwest Voice conducted a Census block analysis of demographic changes for 34 Hoffman and Associates developments between 2000-2016. We relied on their website for address data and year of opening. The number and percentage of Blacks and Whites for each block were based on Census data. We used Policy Map to conduct analysis. We split the data into two periods (2000-2009 and 2010-2019) because Census blocks generally undergo a change in size and shape across decennial Census. The columns are intended to show a potential estimate of the development impact. However, the direct relationship between neighborhood demographic changes and a specific Hoffman and Associates development cannot be fully accounted for without knowing all new residential construction in that Census block. Read More
Exclusive: Whistleblower Tells All, No Holds Barred
Southwest Voice conducted a phone interview with a whistleblower associated with the senior leadership for the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA). We use the third person pronoun "they" to protect the source's identity. They allege procurement violations, poor leadership by its executive director, and incompetencies among senior staff. Our January issue discussed the problematic selection of Pennrose, EYA, and Bozzuto Development as the potential co-developer for Greenleaf. Allegedly, three DCHA senior staff members including one from the Executive Director's (left) office, were assigned to attend the Greenleaf procurement meetings although they were not part of the voting panel. Read More
February Issue is Out!
As our readership continues to grow, we continue to put more resources behind quality reading. Click to read
In this Issue: Housing Authority Whistleblower | Attorney Joins SW Advocacy | Poor Housing Impacting Health | Young Couple Can't Buy in SW | Wayward Comp Plan | Greenleaf Asserts Rights | Poetic Voice Corner | Quiet Place
Housing Makes People Sick
Southwest Voice recently interviewed several residents familiar with the experiences of community members dealing with mold and poor air quality in public housing. At times, we have used pseudonyms to protect their identity. Their accounts are jarring and point to the multiple system failures that have left residents - often seniors and those with disabilities - little choice but to live in toxic conditions that exacerbate health conditions. Read More
"Well-Off" Couple Can't Afford SW
By Tom de Man, Associate Editor
Southwest DC’s inequality and gentrification are a major topic of discussion for our newspaper. Gentrification attracts wealthy people, so prices increase, restaurants target affluent newcomers, and the area becomes unaffordable for many residents who have lived here for a long time. Read More
Family Communication & COVID
The COVID pandemic has drastically changed the lives of individuals, families, communities, the world for many years to come – if not forever. Here are a few pointers to establish a communication climate in your homes that may provide the only silver-lining to this pandemic devastation – finding “US” again! Read More
The project proposed for 100 V St will more than double traffic on 4th St and Delaware. The developer's Comprehensive Transportation Review states 100 V will result in about 1,100 additional cars down 4th and Delaware in just 2 peak traffic hours each day. That is an additional driver every 7 seconds, folks coming in and out of the neighborhood at the expense to those of us who call SW home. Read More
Dispelling Myth of DC's "Drop"
The selective interpretation of DC’s “drop” from 1st to 13th – The National Community Reinvestment Coalition conducted two major studies on gentrification. Released in 2019, the first study looked at data from 2000-2012 and showed that DC had the greatest number of Census tracts to gentrify in the US. The second study showed that only 16.8% of tracts gentrified from 2013-2017. It is important to understand how to interpret this data. Read More
A New Zoning Commission?
The Oct 1 Zoning Commission meeting on the 7-Eleven development was characterized by many feelings from commissioners that this project was incompatible with Southwest's architecture and diversity. "This development needs to respect the diversity of Southwest," said Rob Miller . Chairman Anthony Hood also spoke of the ongoing challenges with gentrification. Given the level of ANC6D and community opposition, the hearing was rescheduled for Nov 2 for the JBG Smith to engage with the ANC and community. As long as the Commission only considers the case a "design review," it will likely be left to the community to challenge in court.
Free Clothing Giveaway
Christ United Methodist Church and the Ward 6 Mutual Aid Group will cosponsor a community giveaway on Oct 3rd from 10am-3pm at I St and 4th St SW. Featuring all the women's clothing that we have received in over the spring and summer - there is an amazing amount of top quality clothes that need new homes. It will also have baby & children's clothes and supplies and some men's clothes and a few household items.
SW Has Low Rental Rate of Vacancies
SW has an low rate of renting vacant housing units. While the citywide average is 46%, SW is only 30%. Lower rates appear at the Wharf and the western side of Southwest. Affordable properties such as Capitol Park Plaza and public housing have high rates of renting vacant units. Overall the renter-occupied units reflect trends in Ward 7 and 8, rather than demographically with more White residents.
September Issue: Southwest Voice
Where is Neighborhood Retail?
This image is pre-urban renewal on 4th St between E and F St on the east side. This is an example of the more than 1,000 businesses that were lost to urban renewal in SW. Residential SW does not have a Black barbershop - evidence of the general lack of neighborhood-serving retail. (Credit: Joseph Owen Curtis Photograph Collection)
Shulman's Market was one of dozens of Jewish businesses lost to urban renewal. It was at the intersection of N St and Union St, which no longer exists, but ran through what is now Harbour Square and Tiber Island (Credit: Library of Congress, Louise Rosskam - photographer)
Black Lives Matter Back to SW (1/2)
Participants in Commitment March on Washington march south on Maine Avenue.
BLM March (2/2)
A break in the downpour raised hopes for the march continuing down Maine Avenue.
SW Lives Matter
A resident gestures "Black Lives Matter' support, wearing a "SW Lives Matter" T-shirt.
Significant Public Housing Architecture
Public housing in SW provide an excellent example of early century public housing architecture, reflecting aesthetics and communal living: “low-rise designs provided a human scale ...for tenants to view playgrounds, courts, and gardens..and allowed residents to supervise their children...” (Newman 1972) This approach would be largely abandoned in the 1950s and 60s, especially in major cities.
District Fadez: Important for Economy
Barbershops serve important needs for the local economy, health and wellness, small business, and racial equity building. District Fadez is located in L'Enfant Plaza in SW DC.
Instagram: [Make appointment]
BLM Messages at Arena Stage
A pioneer in 1950 of the Regional Theater Movement, Arena Stage is a tremendous asset in the Southwest community and supporter of the Black theatre arts. These BLM messages represent a commitment to ensuring diversity in local theatre. Its 2020-21 season includes Toni Stone, August Wilson's Seven Guitars, and American Prophet.
Greenleaf Deserves New Name
Greenleaf public housing including the Gardens, 203N, and the Senior building is named after land speculator and slave-owner James Greenleaf. The Southwest Voice, which includes Greenleaf residents, is preparing a letter to the DC Council and DC Housing Authority to raise awareness about Greenleaf's slave-holding legacy and to request immediate renaming to a culturally appropriate historical figure such as Anthony Bowen.
LGBTQ-A+ Pride in SW
SW resident is pictured above wearing the LGBT colors in a breathy summer dress from Target. LGBT families and individuals, as well as affirming straight allies, are highly visible in the Southwest community.
Industry Cheapens Development
From Vulcan and Superior concrete mixing plants and the large Pepco substation, Buzzard Point remains an active industrial site. The use of this land for professional sports could be deemed reasonable - despite the known carcinogens in the soil. However, the anticipated luxury high-density residential means easily half of residents will peer out of their windows to see unattractive industrial activity.
AG Sues Housing Authority
DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA). The lawsuit focuses on the drug and firearm-related issues around the city's public housing including James Creek and Syphax.
Fire at James Creek
James Creek was the site of the second major fire in Southwest in less than two weeks. Flames engulfed a duplex that started at an upper unit. Residents in the entire building were evacuated. Representatives from the DC Housing Authority were on scene.
Rally for Racial Justice in SW
The "Rally for Racial Justice in Southwest" was held on June 12. Sponsored by area churches, Southwest Voice, and Southwest Action DC, the event attracted hundreds of residents. The first part of the event involved participants holding signs and calling for racial justice, followed by speakers.
BLM Caravan Comes to SW
A caravan seeking to bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement came to Southwest on May 30, bringing out local residents who greeted onlookers with messages of support. Several members of Southwest Action DC - a resident coalition - brought music, literature, and a megaphone to show support.
10 Ideas to Transform Southwest
With gentrification and over-development looming large in Southwest, the community's historical and cultural heritage preservation could not come at a better time. Here are 10 ideas to restore balance in the remaking of Southwest. These ideas would create a vibrant and more equitable economy that draws on Southwest's many legacies.
Southwest Action's Equity Report
Co-sponsored by Southwest Voice, "Promoting Social and Economic Equity in the Southwest Waterfront Community" advances community values in four areas. The coalition includes educators, lawyers, students, environmentalists, retirees, persons with disabilities, and parents.
Legacy of Urban Renewal
"Urban renewal projects displaced more than 300,000 people between 1955 and 1966, and the burden fell disproportionately on people of color."  Southwest was the first example in the city and one of the earliest in the country, though not without resistance. Two Southwest business owners challenged the government's ability to take private property.
Vulcan Concrete is required to obtain an air permit to operate its concrete batching plant in SW DC. Buzzard Point residents have had longstanding opposition to industrial activity in their backyard. They say that poor community health has been attributed to polluters in the area, combined with increased construction activity and traffic-related pollution.
SW Voice Supports Local Artists
SW resident Sergio Jiménez, Pentandra Digital Marketing Consultors LLC, illustrated SW DC animated graphic exclusively for Southwest Voice. Mr. Jiménez also designed the Southwest Community Gardens flag.
Brickies Must End
Established as the "Livable Walkable Awards" more than ten years ago under Tommy Wells, former Ward 6 councilor and current director of the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), the "Brickies" are highly questionable and must end in its current form.
Poor Reporting at GGW
The Southwest Voice and Southwest Action recently emailed Greater Greater Washington with our concerns about their reporting on Greenleaf redevelopment. Our letter raises issues with conflict of interest for the lead writer, Nena Perry-Brown...
Climate Change & SW
The District’s climate study also noted that Buzzard Point and Southwest DC are at great risk of flooding, due to sea level rise and land subsidence- a natural geological pattern dating back to the most recent Ice Age, causing Washington, DC to sink. Yes, we are sinking at the same time that sea level is rising. The Anacostia river is also a tidal river.
United in Peace Walk
The Southwest community gathered on Saturday, November 2 to unite against gun violence that has claimed several lives throughout the summer and fall of this year. Organized by community leader and ANC6D Commissioner Rhonda Hamilton and Reverend Ruth Hamilton, Co-Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, the walk attracted residents from across the community. Residents began their march with a prayer for peace (pictured above).
Anthony Bowen's legacy lives on in Southwest and around Washington, DC. The First District Station occupies the former building of Anthony Bowen Elementary School on M St and includes a permanent exhibit on his life and historical significance. Amidon-Bowen Elementary School also bears his name, along with Margaret Milburn Amidon, a teacher and principal in SW in the 1800s. The Twelfth Street YMCA Building in NW, also known as the Anthony Bowen YMCA, honors Bowen.
Olympian Sheila Ingram
It was just something I did." This is how Sheila Ingram describes her silver medal win in the 4 × 400 meter relay at the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal, Canada. Her characteristic humility understates her exceptional talent in track and field. Sheila was only 19 years old that summer, missing her graduation to compete. Yet, she set two American women’s records at various times throughout the competition, in addition to four national high school records. Only three high schoolers have beat her 400m semifinal time.