I was born and raised in the Congress Heights/Anacostia neighborhoods here in Washington. Over the years I have seen many changes, good and bad. Now after being away for over 24 years, I’m back in Congress Heights.
Despite the poverty, crime, and violence, I love my neighborhood. I’ve been back for about two months. As I ride my bicycle to the metro, I reminisce about how we used to play football in the streets and how we used to have block parties without the drive-by shootings that would have sent us diving behind parked cars and buildings.
We as people make our neighborhoods what they are. We give them the reputations that they have. I have some friendly, hardworking neighbors who want nothing but the best for our neighborhood. Those are the ones that can make a good difference.
I spend a lot of time in the Dupont Circle neighborhood selling Street Sense papers and eating out. The crime and violence rate is lower than in my neighborhood. You can find couples, families or tourists walking and shopping at any time. The comparison between my neighborhood and Dupont is like night and day. I do have a little history with Dupont.
Before my father passed away in 1976, he used to take me to Dupont on the weekends to feed the birds. I remember the underground stores, the People’s Drug Store at Dupont Circle (now the CVS)…
I started selling Street Sense in 2008. I only sold at Dupont Circle on weekdays. I met many people who work in Dupont but don’t live in the neighborhood that supports our paper. I am very thankful. I’ve also met many people that live in Dupont and support us. They have welcomed Street Sense vendors to their neighborhood. They thank me for being out there. Especially at the Fresh Market on Sundays. I feel right at home.