The Week Ahead…and Saturday’s Forum on Race Relations in our Community
The Need Is Evident for Broader and Deeper Community Involvement
by Larry Janezich
Race Relations in our Community: Saturday’s Forum at Liberty Baptist Church
Pastor Anthony Owens of Liberty Baptist Church, launched the “Forum on Race Relations in our Community” on Saturday, at Liberty Baptist Church, by telling the 50 or so attendees that in the aftermath of the recent racially motivated attacks on churches in South Carolina, the Church has been called upon to speak out in an effort to understand the origins of prejudice.
There followed a wide-ranging discussion among the panelists who included Councilmember Charles Allen, Dr. Douglas Powe, Jr., Professor, Wesley Theological Seminary; Denise Krepp, ANC6B 10 Commissioner; and Kelly M. Matthews, owner and principal of MBA Services, LLC. The forum moderator was Carmen Jones Mitchell, attorney and member of Liberty Baptist Church.
A long discussion of the broad nature of factors contributing to or concerning race relations set the context for a more specific discussion about race relations in our community.
There was a consensus that gentrification and the clash of perspectives between long-time community residents and new arrivals was a major factor in contributing to racial tensions in our community. As one panelist pointed out, in such an atmosphere, it’s easy for residents to misunderstand or lose respect for each other. Several participants expressed a desire to continue a more focused discussion and exchange, including more participation from audience members.
Despite CM Allen listing the ANCs among those civic associations with the potential to promote racial harmony and community building, other than panelist Denise Krepp, only ANC6B Commissioners Brian Flahaven and Nick Burger attended the Forum. It did not appear that representatives of other civic or social welfare organizations such as the ANC6B’s Hill East Task Force or the Community Action Group (CAG) were in attendance.
It seems clear that for a meaningful dialogue on race relations to take place, it will require much greater participation by community civic organizations and community stakeholders, as well as greater coordination among members of the Capitol Hill faith community. Asked for his reaction to the forum, Pastor Owens told CHC, “I thought the forum was thought provoking on how we harbor some prejudices. Obviously, there’s a need for continued dialogue, which I’m open to the community for suggestions.”
In addition to providing a community service by hosting this event, Liberty Baptist Church also serves as the regular site for PSA 108 meetings.
The Week Ahead…
Monday, September 14
- ANC6D meets at 7:00pm in the DCRA Meeting Room, 1100 4th St. SW, 2nd Floor, for its regular September meeting.
Agenda: Not available at press time
Tuesday, September 15
1. CHRS Board of Directors meet at 6:30pm at Capitol Hill Townhomes, 750 6th Street, SE.
Agenda not available at press time.
Wednesday, September 16
- ANC6A Economic Development Committee meets at 7:00pm at Sherwood Recreation Center, Corner of 10th and G Streets,. NE.
Among items on the agenda:
901 H Street, NE. Extension of Zoning Commission order to permit redevelopment of H Street Connection site with mixed-use retail and residential structure.
1336 Emerald Street, NE. Variance from the lot size requirements, the rear yard requirements, the court requirements, and the nonconforming structure requirements, and a special exception from the height requirements, to construct a third-story addition to an existing two-story, one-family dwelling, and a new shed in the R-4 District.
1313 to 1323 Linden Court, NE. In connection with the planned redevelopment of alley lots, applicant seeks a use variance to permit a commercial use on one of the lots, and area variances from the lot occupancy requirements, the rear yard requirements, the alley width requirement for buildings on alley lots under, and a special exception from the height requirements.
- RFK Stadium Redevelopment Community Meeting
Events DC will host the first of two community meetings to seek community input for Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (RFK Stadium) Campus redevelopment including DC Armory. The goal is to walk the audience through the RFK study process and to obtain their feedback for moving forward.
6:00pm – 9:00pm, St. Coletta of Greater Washington, 1901 Independence Avenue,. SE.
Thursday, September 17
- PSA 108 meets at 7:00pm at Liberty Baptist Church, 527 Kentucky Avenue, SE.