Saturday, January 30, 2010

FLY Bake Sale today!

If you're looking to get out and about today, despite the wintry weather bearing down on us, you simply must stop in at 2021 MLK Jr. Avenue in Anacostia to support some motivated young women. What will you find there?

Well, FLY (Facilitating Leadership in Youth) is hosting a bake sale to raise funds to cover the cost of the various workshops they participate in and a Debutante Ball that takes place in June, at the conclusion of their 9 month program.

So head on over from 12-3pm today and get some tasty baked goods...especially with this cold weather upon us!

To learn more about FLY, please visit their website or their Facebook page.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Go's good for you and for your community

Anyone who knows me can tell you what an enthusiast I am about local, sustainably produced food...although, I will be the first to admit I cannot always afford to eat that way, particularly now as I continue to search for full-time, permanent employment.

Beyond food though, I really try my best to support local businesses and I finally turned my frustration into action in the banking arena. This past week, I began moving my money out of Bank of America. My choice of where to go centered on the Library of Congress Federal Credit Union and Bank of Georgetown. In the end, I decided to go with the Bank of Georgetown...there were certain signs pointing in that direction, which I won't go into here. However, I am still considering the credit union for when I close one of my current credit cards (they just upped my rate even though I have a long and stellar history with them). That's probably still a month off but at least my deposit accounts will soon be fully supporting a local institution versus the Charlotte-based behemoth. What's ironic is that I am a BofA shareholder since late 1998. Of course, the stock has been pummeled over the last few years and I am hoping it regains a little of its value before I dump it sometime before the end of this calendar year.

Anyway, I digress...but seriously folks, consider local banks, credit unions, businesses, and other institutions when making your consumer choices. Research and study has generally found that healthy local institutions make for vital consumers we can be smart and discerning and, brick-by-brick, help build more enriching and sustainable communities.

St. Martin's Apartments...a saintly presence?

If you've lived in the area anytime over the last several years you have undoubtedly heard of the debacle that has surrounded the construction of a housing complex at the former St' Martin's Convent School site. I won't rehash the battle royale that can check out the links below to learn more, although I believe these links are just a sampling of the media coverage that has been devoted to this project.

It's safe to say though there was/is a lot of money riding on this project from the city, Feds, etc. and it had the patina of a social justice project in action...whether long term benefits will accrue to the neighborhood however is still in doubt. As the last article from City Paper points out, the project is slated for completion in late 2010 and probably won't be reasonably occupied until end of Q1 2011. Despite the PR out of St. Martin's Catholic Church, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating beginning in 2011...whether the taste will be sweet or bitter, we will just have to wait and see.

One thing that is for certain is that the church and its allies acted in a 'high-handed' matter, based on what I have read to date. It's amazing how many development projects in this city have similar stories...a largely minority community being left out of consultative process for the most part until the shit hits the fan, and then the powers that be pretend that they meant to include you all along, meanwhile painting you as greedy and racist (paraphrasing Fr. Kelly). Of course, as always its easier to cast aspersions after you have got what you want vs. doing the nitty-gritty work of collaborating with the community to design a project that is agreeable to largest number of folks. Instead, the church (one of the last organizations you would suspect) sows more seeds of discord along the furrows of race and power rather than using it's prerogatives for furthering peace and justice.

I still reserve final judgement on this may turn out to be a boon for the community but based on my extensive education and experience in community development, the process of how development occurs is just as important as the final 'product'...however, in our consumer/results-oriented society we're always ready to sacrifice social justice and our shared humanity on the altar of money. Very sadly, I guess the Catholic Church in DC is no different.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Help Haiti!

To assist with the very acute medical needs on the ground in Haiti, Partners in Health is the best organization to donate to...
Stand With Haiti

You can also donate to Yele Haiti

If you have a specific interest in ensuring the water and sanitation needs of the Haitian people, please direct your contribution to OxfamAmerica.

Between the situation in Haiti, the very real blessing of temp assignments, and the job search revving back up after the holiday lull, I have been derelict with respect to the blog, but I promise another post shortly.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2000-2009 - Eckington's Decade?

Apparently 2000-2009 was Eckington's decade as we got a shout-out in WaPo's:

A look back at 2000-09 in Washington

"Neighborhoods that had always been here found new life. Eckington, Bloomingdale and Congress Heights became buzzwords beyond their borders."

The full article can be found here.

Of course, Eckington and Bloomingdale are contiguous so this area is undergoing quite a revival, although it's effects are muted in this particular economic climate. I think their proximity to LeDroit Park and the U-Street Corridor are very helpful and when the economy recovers (eventually), there should be more positive developments in the area. As long as developers and city government consults with and includes local people in the process instead of kicking them to the curb, we should be able to embrace it wholeheartedly.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, we've arrived in 2010...I spent a week at my parent's house in Massachusetts just after our snowstorm so that's why there hasn't been much on here recently. I will hope to do some digging over the weekend to see what has been going on in our fair neighborhood and get us up to date.

In the meantime, peace and blessings to everyone in 2010!