Monday, December 9, 2013

Remembering to be Thankful

Art of War Concept: The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

One of my favorite things to do is to attend public events where I have the opportunity to meet new and interesting people.  Recently, I had the pleasure of attending such an event --  TheARC’s After Dark fundraiser where I had the opportunity to sit at the table sponsored by The Covenant House. I had heard of The Covenant House because they are in the same building as the TheARC on Mississippi Ave, SE, but never really understood their mission and work they perform in the community.

While engaging in conversations with The Covenant House staff, I learned about their mission to end youth homelessness.  At the end of the night they invited me to participate in their annual Sleep Out event.  This event is held every fall in an effort to raise awareness about youth homeless in the city and to raise money for the organization that assists youth in finding permanent housing.  Corporate executives and community activists from around the city agree to sleep outside for one night in an effort to gain first- hand experience on what it is like to be homeless while raising money for the cause. Initially I was hesitant to participate but after some convincing I agreed to support a worthy cause.

When I arrived at the Covenant House I really did not know what to expect. I figured it would be a long night so I dressed in sweat pants and a hoodie. The evening began with a candlelight vigil to stand in solidarity with disconnected youth in our city. After the vigil we all participated in roundtable discussions with some of the youth who have participated in programs.

Hearing their stories about broken homes, domestic abuse and other struggles in life reminded me that I take so much for granted and I have a lot to be thankful for. It reminded me there are residents in our city that are living hard lives and trying to get through the day can be a challenge. Thinking about what the future holds beyond today day is a difficult for some.

Around 11pm we were told by the facilitators it was time to grab our sleeping bags and to find a spot in the parking lot or walkway where we would spend the night. Some of us grabbed a spot on the sidewalk and some in the grass, but looking at the faces of the participants we were all a little nervous about the coming experience. The fact that the weather forecast called for temps in the low 40s left none of us too excited. I found a spot on the walkway. I laid a cardboard box down first to try and soften the ground and then a black trash bag on top of the box to trap any moisture to stay dry. I then crawled into my sleeping bag.  I never thought about bringing my own pillow.  I initially I used my shoe as a pillow until a fellow participant felt sorry for me because I look so uncomfortable and loaned me an empty book bag to use as a pillow for the night.

That whole night, I think I got about 1 hour of light sleep. I spent most of the night trying to get comfortable. When I thought I found an ideal spot, I had to get up to use the restroom. When I got back, I went through the process again of tossing and turning in my sleeping bag to find a spot where I felt comfortable enough to close my eyes to get some sleep.

While lying there, I thought to myself I will never look at the homeless the same way ever again. I felt
especially bad to know that we have youth who are living in these types of conditions. I knew my one night experience was temporary.  I knew I was safe because I was sleeping next to the facility and around thirty other executives and community organizers. I knew that if I needed to I could go to the restroom in the facility and grab bottled water if I was thirsty. I knew when the morning came I was free to go home, take a hot shower and get another hour of sleep in my warm bed before going to work.

I could not imagine being homeless, having to go through the process of finding somewhere safe to sleep every night. Getting up in the morning, not having a job to go. I am so thankful for my many blessings in life. I am even thankful for the disappointments because I was reminded that night that when things are not going my way, it sure could be a lot worse.

What are you thankful for this holiday season? I can start off by sharing that I am thankful for great parents and awesome family support that continues to encourage me to be a better version of myself. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas in Ward 8!

Christmas Caroling in Historic Anacostia!

"Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle All the Way!"
It is that time of year again. The Historic Anacostia Block Association and the Anacostia Coordinating Council invite you to sing along with us at our Annual Christmas Caroling in Historic Anacostia event. 

Please join us on Sunday December 15th starting at 6pm at the Anacostia Fire Station for this fun filled event. We will start off by singing our favorite Christmas carols for our hard working firefighters and then walk the neighborhood sharing the Christmas spirit with our neighbors.

Please bring a friend and neighbor with you. The more the merrier! Caroling will begin at the Anacostia Fire Station located at 2101 14th St., SE (near the Frederick Douglass Home). The event will begin at 6pm.

More Ward 8 Christmas Events

1. Fairlawn Christmas Tree Lighting
Date: Saturday December 4th
Time: 4pm
Where: Corner of Good Hope Rd and Minnesota Ave., SE

2. Congress Heights Holiday Celebration
Date: Monday December 9th
Time: 6:30pm
Where: UPO Petey Green Center - 3215 MLK Ave SE

3. Congress Heights Christmas Tree Lighting
Date: Saturday December 14th
Time: 4pm - 7pm
Where: Shepard Park - Corner of MLK Ave and Malcom X Ave., SE

Monday, October 28, 2013

How Do You Cut Your Pancakes?

Art of War Concept: All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.

I just love breakfast! I can eat a breakfast meal anytime during the day. And of course, my favorite breakfast meal is pancakes. Whether it is blueberry, strawberry or regular…if you say pancakes, I will come running to the table. Whether they are from Ward 8’s IHOP or from the Market Lunch at Eastern Market, on a Saturday morning you best believe that I am there ready to gulf down a short stack along with eggs, bacon and a glass of orange juice.

While sitting at the table enjoying my pancakes, there are times when I will look over at my friends or another customer’s plate to see if they are in food heaven like me.  What I’ve noticed is, similar to leadership style, everyone has their own unique way of cutting their pancakes. After much observation, I’ve concluded the way you cut your pancakes is reflective of your leadership style and personality. Typically, pancake eaters use one of the following cutting styles:  “criss-cross,” cut-as-you-go, or a half-and-half.

Let us analyze each style and see if it fits your personality.

Let’s begin with the criss-cross pattern. This pancake eater will cut their pancakes in a symmetrical pattern
before pouring the syrup. I notice this person will eat each piece starting from the outside and working in; always leaving the middle piece last. The last piece taste the best because it had time to absorb the syrup and butter. If you are this type of pancake eater you are most likely a planner. You like to see the big picture and take a step-by-step approach to reach your goal. Reaching your goal is like finishing that last piece of the pancake. After all your hard work, reaching your goal taste so sweet. However, they may be adverse to change and get-up-tight when they cannot predict the next step in the process.

The next pancake eater is the “cut as you go” eater. Instead of being perfectly symmetrical like the criss-cross eater, your pancakes take on unpredictable form as you cut them. You don’t care how they look as long as you eat what is on the plate. This pancake eater most likely leads spontaneously. You like change and hate to be placed in a box. You can also irritate the criss-cross pancake eater who is probably agenda-driven and wants to stay on task. You are aware of your ultimate goal, but believe there are multiple ways to get there. Just like eating pancakes this leadership style sees winning as the goal, not the process.

The final pancake eater is the “half-and-half” eater. The person will cut his pancakes in half then set one half to the side and pour the syrup. They will eat the half first and then start on the next half. I consider this style the project facilitator. This person gets overwhelm if there is too much on their plate at one time. They reach the goal by eliminating the distraction of the big picture and working on a smaller more attainable goal first. Completing projects in a systematic approach, removing the big picture helps moves them closer to reaching the goal. This person is the perfect addition to a team because you are able to easily identify tasks and have a determination to complete them to help the “criss-cross” and “cut-as-you-go” styles reach their goal.

What I have learned about each pancake eater is there is no right or wrong way to cut your pancakes. At the end of the day, it is all going to the same place – your mouth. And just like there is not a right or wrong way to eat your pancakes, there is not one single way to lead. All three leadership styles have strengths and weaknesses but ultimately can get to the same goal. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were pushing for the same cause. They had different leadership styles and both were effective. I remember when President Barack Obama was first elected. His critics said that he was not hardcore enough, yet at the end of his second term, most will think he accomplished a lot during his presidency. There are also unique styles of leadership in our Ward. Let’s be sure to embrace different styles of leadership and encourage each other to improve the quality of life in our communities. 

So next time you are eating pancakes make sure you are observant.  Remember you can learn a lot about a person by how they eat their pancakes! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Redevelopment = Gentrification? Pt. 3 "Affordable Housing"

No matter where you live in the District, many people have a negative reaction when they hear the term “affordable housing” especially as it relates to their own neighborhood. Is there a difference between low-income, public, subsidized, and affordable housing? Do you feel there is too much affordable housing, or not enough?

You are invited to join r.e.e.l. for a interactive roundtable discussion on affordable housing. Learn about the current trends in the District's housing market, who is affected and how. We want to know what affordable housing really means and examine whether it is important and needed in the development of our communities.

When: Monday October 28th
Time: 7pm
Where: Anacostia Library - 1800 Good Hope Rd., SE (Ora L. Glover Community Room)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Demystifying Development Forum

What does this all mean, and how can you get involved?
Hi All,

Does all this talk about development coming to your neighborhood make you a little nervous? Are you wondering what role the District Government and zoning play in development? Or do you just want to know how you can play an active role in guiding new development in your community?
If you need answers to these questions and more, we invite you to join us on Tuesday August 27th for a great discussion. The conversation will focus the realities of development and how to get involved in meaningful ways. We have chosen a panel of individuals with varying backgrounds to help us view development from a few different perspectives.
We will see you in the audience. Feel free to bring a friend!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tryin to Be Sneaky with Your Liquor License Request

Art of War Concept: Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

The work of an Advisory Neighborhood Commission is never done. This is particularly true when it comes to monitoring liquor license request. Many vendors are aware that the best time to apply for a liquor license is in late summer.  They know that most folks go on vacation in August and chances are good that community organizations and the ANC will also be out for the month. Well low and behold, ANC 8A recently found out that Dollar Plus General located at 1429 Good Hope Rd., SE is applying for a Class A liquor license. What’s interesting is this vendor is within 400 feet of a DC Public Elementary School (Ketchem Elementary). If approved, this would make for two liquor stores within 400 feet of our kids.

Class A Includes: Beer, Wine and Spirits

There are two ways to protest a liquor license. The first, is for the ANC to vote to protest the license. The second option is for at least five (5) private citizens to file their own protest. ANC 8A will have a special meeting on Saturday August 24th, 2013 at 8:00am to vote on whether to protest a license. We will be meeting at the ANC 8A Office located at 2100 MLK Ave., SE.

However, in the case of a liquor license protest, it always best to maximize community participation in filing the protest. If would like to send in your own protest, please mail or scan your letter using the below message and send to: NOTE: You have to physically sign your letter before mailing/emailing for it to be considered.

August __, 2013

Ms. Tesha Anderson
Adjudication Assistant
Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
2000 14th St NW, Suite 400 South
Washington, DC 20009

RE:      ABRA-092680
Dollar Plus Store, 1429 Good Hope Rd., SE

Dear Ms. Anderson:

I am a resident of the Anacostia neighborhood. It has come to my attention that Dollar Plus is applying for a Class A Liquor License. Please accept this communication as my protest of this license application. My protest is based on concerns related to peace, order, quiet, litter and parking. Furthermore, I believe that it would unconscionable for ABRA to approve this application due to the fact that it would be the second such establishment operating within 400 feet of a DC Public School (Ketchem Elementary School).

I will be unable to attend the Roll-Call Hearing on September 9, 2013. I would like to designate Ms. Greta Fuller and/or Mr. Charles Wilson to attend on my behalf to represent my interest as stated in my protest letter.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Concerned Citzen


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fort Stanton Recreation Center!

Art of War Concept: All armies prefer high ground to low and sunny places to dark.

We all know that Ward 8 includes more neighborhoods than just Anacostia and Congress Heights, right?? Have you heard of a neighborhood called Fort Stanton? Fort Stanton is probably the smallest designated neighborhood in Ward 8. It sits in between Hillsdale and Washington Highlands and is right around the corner for the Anacostia Community Museum off of Morris Rd.

This past weekend, Ft. Stanton finally got its new and improved recreation center it has been clamoring for. The facility kept the same pool, but it got new basketball courts, softball field and indoor facility. It may have been another hot and humid day, but residents of the community did not mind a little heat to celebrate the opening of the new center! See below for some pics.
 Director of DPW and ANC Commissioner Anthony Lorenzo giving remarks

 Brand-Spankin New!

The neighborhood celebrating the day! 

Nothing happens by accident when it comes to neighborhood improvement. Big Shout-Out
to Ms. Addie Cooke -- 40 year resident of Fort Stanton. She fought years to make this a reality! 

New basketball courts 

Indoor basketball and volleyball court 

Ms. Barbara Jones, always making things happen in Fort Stanton 

Youth Room...

Senior Lounge that will be renamed the Addie Cooke Senior Lounge

Game Room = Pool Table, Foosball Table!

Computer Room

The Arts...

Fitness Center!

And of course, the Ft Stanton Softball Field!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Oh Thank Heaven for 7-11

Art of War Concept: Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

So what is going on at the old Anacostia Warehouse Supermarket Building? I did some ANC research and found out one of the proposed tenants once construction is complete is a 7-11 convenience store. Now before you get all bent-out-of-shape because I know we all wanted a Whole Foods or Trader Joes, we need to be aware of reality that the Anacostia community currently cannot economically support those establishments. Let us be excited that we are taking baby steps. I personally think a 7-11 option is good for a couple reasons.

1.       We live in a food desert. Unless you live near the Safeway or Giant on Alabama Ave, SE you have to drive to get any fresh food products. A 7-11 at this location on Good Hope Rd would add a lot of convenience to residents in the Anacostia Community. Let’s not forget how folks were willing to shop at the Anacostia Warehouse instead of Yes! Organic just because of the location.  And now 7-11 actually sells fresh salads and sandwiches!

2.       The owner of the building is going to add some large glass windows to the side of the building to create a sense of openness.. This will add a beatification spark that is well needed on Good Hope Rd.

3.       7-11 does a lot of good in the community it serves. The company sponsors several school and community programs that help advance its mission in promoting safety, education, health & wellness and community revitalization -- with a focus on youth programs.

But here is the kicker. I spoke with the proposed franchise owners and they are a little hesitant to move to Anacostia…and I am sure you know the reason why…CRIME. We have heard it before that a reputable business is cautious about coming  East of the River because of reputation. So we need your help by sending a support email to the franchise owners encouraging them to come to Anacostia. If we can show that we can attract a national franchise maybe others will soon follow.

Simply copy and paste the email below and send to the following:;;

Subject: Welcome to Anacostia

Dear 7-11,

My name is (state your name) and I live in the Anacostia Community. I recently learned the exciting news that you are opening a 7-11 in our neighborhood. Your move to Good Hope Rd is a huge win for the neighborhood and will be well-received by the residents.  7-11 will add shopping convenience that we all want and deserve. Additionally, we support management's initiative to employ local residents to work at this location.

Please let me know what we can do as a community to support your move to the neighborhood.

Oh Thank Heaven for 7-11,


Large class windows on the side of the building will be
sure to add some vibrancy to the block.

 I had no idea 7-11 now carries fresh fruit and sandwiches

Pizza and hot dogs

 Milk and Juice

Bread, sugar, flour...they got the essentials.

The candy isle was always my favorite as a kid...

Who wants to be able to walk down the street
for a slurpee on DC Hot Summer Days?
Don't Forget to Send Your Email!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Walking the 11th Street Bridge

Art of War Concept: Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.

This past weekend after the fireworks, I decided to take a walk over the new 11th Street Bridge. It truly is a whole new experience walking instead of driving. The new bridge only reinforces my belief that the sky is the limit when it comes to the potential for the greater Anacostia community.  In just a few years this bridge has made a world of difference it how it looks and feels coming in and out of the neighborhood.. It truly makes you appreciate the environment around you.

I would highly recommend you experience it for yourself. So one day, get out of the car and walk across to Barracks Row or to one of the overlook piers to embrace this new experience! Here are some pics to give you a feel...

Some neighbors walking over to Barracks Row for lunch

A very wide walking and biking path...

Enough room to walk and bike...
Remember bikes on the left and walk on the right!
"On Your Left!"

Overlook piers...

Come out and read a book as the cars pass by...


The bridge has its own drainage system so storm water does
not drain directly into the Anacostia River

As the boats pass by...

You can even walk down to Anacostia Park...

Its even great at night...very well lit

Mark your calendars!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How does the Height Act relate in Ward 8?

Are you satisfied with the height of buildings in Ward 8? Should height limitations be lifted so that the buildings can be significantly taller? The National Capital Planning Commission is conducting public meetings to discuss this important issue. There will be one in Ward 8 this Thursday, June 6th, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, at Savoy Elementary School, 2400 Shannon Place, SE. The Anacostia Coordinating Council will provide a buffet dinner. See you there!

Historic Anacostia Block Association Meeting

Summer Time is Here!

Yep, can you believe it is already June? Time flies so let us take advantage of the warm weather and outdoor activities. Things are also heating up in the community and we would like to invite you to our next neighborhood meeting to get the latest updates. The agenda includes:
St Elizabeth's East Campus Development: Though St. E's is located in Congress Heights, we all know the future development of this site will have a major impact on our entire Ward. Come learn more about new food pavilion and future development plans for the campus.
Big K Development: The Big K Site is moving a little closer to development. The development of this site will have long-term impact on the greater Anacostia community. Come hear the details about what is being proposed.
Office of Planning: Representatives from the Office of Planning will be in attendance to share the present and future planning agenda for our community. We are looking at building a stronger partnership with the agency that will continue to improve the quality of life for our neighborhood
Crime Update: Neighborhood crime continues to be an issue in Ward 8. Get important information on the progress made and how we can all stay safe and informed this summer.
Martha's Outfitters: If you haven't heard, a new thrift store outlet has opened up on MLK Ave., SE. Representatives from Martha's Outfitters will be in attendance to provide information about what they sell and how you can donate items to the store. .
Neighborhood Barbeque: We are in the process of planning a neighborhood barbeque in July to be held at Old Market Square. It is going to be a great event, but we will need your help to ensure its success. Come find out how you can be a part of the planning committee.
Please invite your friends, family, and neighbors to the meeting on June 13th! The meeting will be held at the Anacostia UPO Center located at 1649 Good Hope Rd., SE. The meeting will begin at 7pm.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5th Annual DC Housing Expo

On Saturday, June 1st, from 10am-3pm, at the Washington Convention Center, DHCD will hold the 5th Annual DC Housing Expo. The expo is free and open to the public. There will be free credit reports, home ownership & financial literacy workshops, hands-on demonstrations, door prizes, and giveaways. For more information call (202) 442-7200, or visit