WASHINGTON CITY PAPER 04/25/12
By Shani Hilton
Elahe Izadi asks a provocative question in a story at DCentric: Can a party change Anacostia?
People really only go places because they have a reason, whether it’s work, friends or attractions. Nikki Palmer of Bloomingdale made her first visit to Anacostia to attend Cherry Blast. She said that she and others she knows don’t typically come east of the river because nothing has drawn them there yet. She’s heard for years to avoid Anacostia, but it’s “a stigma that I’m losing now.”
Such perceptions are something that Michael Shank of Anacostia tries to tackle. A towering white man, he moved to the neighborhood 2 years ago, partially “to challenge myself both with the race and class issues that D.C. has not resolved,” he said. He’s found an incredible sense of community in the process. Shank now tries to get his friends to visit, but it’s not easy.
“There is such a psychological barrier,” Shank said over a DJ playing blaring music at Cherry Blast. “That barrier is broken for a brief bit with these events.”
Of course, another question is whether events like Cherry Blast benefit the people who actually live of east of the river. Resident and east-of-the-river booster Nikki Peele says it does:
“The real win is it brings people who are from the neighborhood and gives them something to do,” she said. “… It makes no sense and it concerns me when myself and my neighbors have to get in a car or take the Metro to go across town in order to do the things we want to do.”
There’s a lot in Elahe’s piece: head over to DCentric and read it.