On the last day of March, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser held her “state of the district” address. Outside were scores of DC residents excluded from the event-and apparently excluded from the Mayor’s promises about affordable housing. There was even talk of housing that someone with a $75,000 a year income can afford being defined as “affordable.” The “Real State of the District” protesters beseiged the Lincoln Theater where the Mayor was speaking and at one point took to the streets to blockade 13th and U sts. A key slogan was “Black Homes Matter!”
Demands of the protest a total moratorium on demolitions of public housing, an end to the “New Communities” initiative, renovations of vacant homes for homeless families, and end to sales of public property to developers, and local funding to repair existing public housing. Also included were demands to reorganize the DC Zoning commission,and to shut off the flow of approvals of harmful development (such as new condos projects).
Protesters specifically called out demolitions of public housing as the cause of the current wave of homelessness in DC. One carried a sign denouncing “Condo Madne$$” and another said she would strongly prefer to have her old home in Arthur Capper back. Arthur Capper was torn down in a “Hope VI” project about ten years ago, few of the displaced residents were ever permitted to return to the upscale housing that replaced it.
For myself, I wonder how the Mayor can afford to live in DC, given that she effectively works for Wal-Mart! For her part, the Mayor refused to show her face before her claimed constituants outside, instead entering and leaving by a rear entrance.
Protesting “Condo Madness” coupled with demolition of public housing
Pushing into the street as the protest grows
Shutting down 13th and U Sts
Marching back to the Mayor’s speech from blocking 13th and U