Sometimes we just need a little simple positivity to remind us why we love the areas of the city where we’ve chosen to live, work, play, and shop. I’ve lived in the southeast quadrant of DC for the past six years — first in Anacostia, and now in Navy Yard, and absolutely love it here. I love the small business culture on Capitol Hill. I love the art and the history in Anacostia. I love the energy of Navy Yard and the waterfront.
But for many people — most, I’d argue, that don’t actually have much interaction with the quadrant — Southeast has come to mean “unsafe,” “scary,” and the geographically incorrect “anything on the east or south side of the Anacostia River.
And so on Wednesday, after a Twitter conversation about the scariness of Southeast got some attention online, my friend and Ward 8 advocate Nikki Peele and I decided to turn the negativity around and spread some good cheer about our quadrant via a Valentine’s Day campaign called #SoutheastLove.
We designed a poster, had it printed at the Eastern Market Kinko’s, and prepared for a day snapping pictures around the quadrant with some of the people and places that make it an area we’re proud to call home.
Yesterday was incredible. As soon as people learned what we were doing, they immediately wanted to participate. While the word “southeast” may have negative associations for some, it represents an enormous amount of positive community pride for an entire quadrant (and more) of others. Residents, shoppers, local business owners and officials beamed holding the sign. A simple gesture, maybe, but an important one.
So check out the slideshow, search the #SoutheastLove hashtag on Twitter and Instagram (where you’ll find photos from DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and many more), and print out and photograph your own sign to help spread the good news a little further!
David Garber (hyperlink to http://www.facebook.com/