All things having to do with past and future meetings go in this thread.

October 7, 2007

As promised, since we now have at least 40 members in the beta community, let’s start planning the first meeting.

Coy Dunston of Secrets of Nature suggested his venue, and there also may be opportunities to have the meeting within a couple of blocks from the 1500 Good Hope Road building.

For attendance, please respect the existing demographic of Anacostia, from the 2000 Census: 92% African-American, 5% Non-hispanic White, and 3% other.

The mission of the Anacostia Beta Community is to strengthen this existing demographic, not to replace it, and in fact, to help prevent mass racial demographic displacement that typically follows significant investment whether its positive or negative.

Edited Fri, Oct 19, 2007 10:46 AM

Replies to this Topic

We have to be very careful when we talk about race. I think all of our desire is to strengthen Anacostia and to not encourage a major displacement. However, in a Beta Community where there is, as of now, at least 10% non-Hispanic white membership, that allows only half of us to attend within the existing demographic breakdown. Our mission and group has to include everyone that wants to make Anacostia a great place to live/work/play, especially everyone who is a part of this group. My fear is that if we put too great a focus on our racial make-up we will be doing ourselves a disservice.

That said, I am very excited for this meeting, and hope that I, and everyone else who is a part of this great group will feel welcome there.

I think you both raise valid points, but i think limiting the attendance is a a bit extreme. I more concerned with respectful meeting dynamics and personalities than with the numbers of a particular demographic that are allowed to attend. What i think is most important is that the concerns and interests of the existing demographic don’t get totally trumped and disregarded; and quite honestly i think that could happen even in a room where the demographics perfectly match the Census numbers or not. As Anacostia moves forward I think issues of class are going to be just as important as issues of “race”, I say this because after leaving here for about 3 years some of the residents of my condo development (@ Stanton and Douglass Place) have felt that they are viewed to be just as much a as a gentrifier and displacer as anyone else (my development is over 90% African-American).

I’ve been working with some community leaders through Ancostia Senior High School, and they are interested in this project. They are having a big “think tank” at the high school on the 23rd and that would give me a good opportunity to invite them to the meeting. How about the Thursday the 25th around 7:00PM?


We’ve had a great suggestion to have the meeting before the Intersections poetry, music and discussions event, which are on the first and third Wednesdays, on location, which happens to be three blocks from the 1500 Good Hope Road building. The event itself hosts the very kind of local energy, creativity and culture that we’re looking to build around.

We can offer to have the meeting either at the Honfleur Gallery at 1241 Good Hope Road or at the ARCH Training Center (which more local people might be familiar with), which is only 2 doors down at 1231 Good Hope Road. These are within a few blocks of the site. I think that having the meeting before Intersections (biweekly poetry reading at Honfleur Gallery) would provide good cross-pollination between the 2 groups. The next Intersections is the 17th at 7:30 pm. The next one would be on November 1st at the same time. Either date is open to this group to use the space for the meeting.

I agree with Fred’s comments; we should be mindful of the demographics, but demographics are sort of “skin deep”, and intentions and sensitivity and understanding of this neighborhood would be more important.

I think the notion of “true representation” was well-intentioned. However, I agree that this is a slippery slope. Yes, I represent a minority in my community, and yes, I am a recent addition to the neighborhood. However, I think that most everyone who chooses to live in Historic Anacostia does so because they have a deep appreciation for the history and flavor, even if other influencers may have also had a role in the decision. I could not be prouder to live across the street from the great Frederick Douglass. I slow down whenever I pass a unique Victorian home and get depressed that some many of them are in such bad shape. The demographics are not just about race. The community also has an overwhelming number of elderly residents who cannot necessarily make the positive changes alone. I think the neighborhood is happy to have a younger generation of those who appreciate Anacostia’s character and will fight for it. The only group that should be limited in numbers are those who see only dollar signs, rather than an opportunity to revitalize.

Let’s officially have an informal meeting at 6:30 pm at either the Honfleur Gallery or ARCH Training Center. This will be a good opportunity to meet those involved, get a better idea of the project, and then be able experience via Intersections why we’re all meeting. At least one of the real estate developers from Prosperity Development Group will be there if they’re not out of town.

Please RSVP here.

We are officially having an informal meeting at 6:30 pm at the Honfleur Gallery at 1241 Good Hope Road, followed by INTERSECTIONS.

At least one of the real estate developers from Prosperity Development Group (yes, they’re working on a new website) will be there if they’re not out of town.

Please RSVP here.

To clarify, when I say to please respect the existing demographic of Anacostia, it still means everyone in this beta community is invited. It’s pretty unanimous that people want a diverse group. Based on this thread however, the participation is the inverse of that demographic, and it’s difficult to establish trust among the local community if that is perceived as what we’re promoting as the future of Anacostia, you know? In other words, as Nate and Fred are committed to doing, please try to invite and involve progressive Anacostia residents with you.

Thank you for coming to the first official beta community meeting on Wednesday night.

Below are the attendees, followed by what places inspire them:

Fred, Anacostia resident and organizer of Intersections – The walkability to goods and services in Savannah

Ahtur, partner in Everlasting Life restaurants – The old section of Tucson near the university, with restaurants, funky boutiques, arts & culture community, walkability and closed off streets to cars.

Hakim, ‘the developer’ – The people, history and human scale of Paris; the distinct neighborhoods of Boston, and the yin/yang of the wilderness to the city

Charles and Edwina, Hakim’s parents – Full write-up coming, including Edwina’s poetic description of the legendary arts/music/culture/social scene in New York City in the 1950s and 60s.

Faheem, Hakim’s son – No comment

Hannah, visiting from Montana – The close-knit connectedness, interaction and walkability of NYC

Shivahn, chef and health specialist – The co-creating, vision, arts and holistic community, and how the people aren’t afraid to interact and share in Takoma Park

Don, guest of Shivahn, IT - The mixed-income ideals of Columbia MD

Pam, key building owner – The inspiring beauty, people watching, ethnic restaurants, waterfront, Misha’s coffeehouse, though lacking diversity of Olde Towne, Alexandria

Briony, staff at ARCH, Honfleur Gallery – The unique character, identity, arts venues, walkability, and non-gentrification of Mount Washington, Baltimore

Jabali – The hot bed of progressive ideas, politics in Berkelely, CA; the community marketplaces of Tanzania

Nefret – The beautiful, walkable urban fabric of Charleston; the diversity of Eastern Market

Sariane – The visually beautiful old Colonial stores, galleries, restaurants, markets, of Antigua, Guatemala, where everyone came from around the world to visit and chill; outdoor brunch in Federal Hill, Baltimore

Rasul – The small town nature, yet with lots going on in big cities like DC and Paris.

John – Knowing everyone in the diverse, fresh neighborhood of the Bronx, with Eastern Europeans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans…

Neil – The history, authenticity and wildly pedestrian-scale streets of the French Quarter, New Orleans.

Hakim then presented the building opportunity at 1500 Good Hope Road, the price points for the apartments on the second floor (around $280/s.f., which is half that in NW DC), and the commitment to healthy, creative businesses on the ground floor, provided a market can be proven.

We then centered on a discussion over what that anchor ground floor business could be, and given the talent in the group, it quickly focused on a community-oriented coffeehouse/cafe with an emphasis on healthy eating and entertainment.

Edited Fri, Oct 19, 2007 11:21 AM

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