16 Jun 2020


Hill Buzz

Good morning to all the neighbors working to wake up and become aware of the systemic racism that has oppressed so many of our neighbors– and to them only.

Portrait by @elizfoto, via our hashtag, #thehillishome

Let’s talk for a brief moment about the video originally shared by the Hill Rag, showing a man in his 50s yelling at a group of young kids at Lincoln Park. By now, the video and the man’s identity– and his wife’s– are common knowledge, but just in case you missed it, here are some highlights. On Wednesday, June 3, an anonymous neighbor recorded a video of a conversation between a neighbor now known to be Benjamin Thomas and other neighbors, whose faces are blurred out in the video. Thomas confronts the blurred-out woman for wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and he makes reference to other neighbors who do not agree with the signage or the message and who have “air rifles at the ready,” purportedly to guard Lincoln Park.

The larger question here is, why would you need to protect the park from neighbors, Mr. Thomas? I understand the nervousness that overcame us all as people took to the streets in protest of George Floyd’s wrongful, shameful death. But as we have seen firsthand, from the countless episodes of police brutality, the tear gassing of innocent civilians, to Floyd’s death itself, we should be more afraid of a police force that is increasingly trained to believe that civilians — and especially civilians who are people of color– are the enemy. (Washington Post)

Yes, curiously, we had a few drugstores with broken windows (why drugstores?!), as well as a couple of high-end stores on H Street. But that Tuesday evening, June 2, my neighbors communicating via Twitter were far more terrified of exploding tear gas canisters and of the possibility of police clashing with unarmed citizens exercising their First Amendment right than anything else. And let’s not forget: People were waiting for HOURS in line that day to vote.

So why would, on the day after such a stressful incident, you, Mr. Thomas, threaten a young protester with air rifles? Why would anyone, especially you, pushing your child’s stroller through the park, think of threatening a neighbor’s child? The fact that this blog is called The Hill is Home reflects that we are a loving community: We uphold one another. We create community. We know our neighbors. And, most importantly, we don’t threaten our neighbors for exercising their First Amendment right. Threatening peaceful citizens is nowhere in your beloved Second Amendment.

It’s a good thing that the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Emergency Act that our ward councilmember, Charles Allen, introduced, has passed. (You can read a summary of the bill’s scope here.) Washington Post

Incidentally, antibody testing is now available for free at the DC Health Serology lab, 200 L Street SE. You can make an appointment by calling 1-855-363-0333. No word on whether this is an accurate test, or how quickly you’ll get your results back. If you’re a reader who gets tested, send us a tweet and let us know how it goes. DCist

If you need testing, you can visit firehouses around the area. More information is always available at coronavirus.dc.gov. I’d like to encourage you to get tested especially if you have participated in protest activity. The test is free and quick and our readers have reported that you can expect your results within 5-7 business days.

Roll Call screams for local ice cream that is taking its sweet time in coming. Right there with you– we should be able to celebrate the first day of summer with some delicious treat on hand, but it might not be so.

Greater Greater Washington introduces some late ’70s maps and asks the question, “Was your neighborhood sound?” Mine appears to be “Transitional.”

In DC-wide news, 40 senators now support statehood for the District of Columbia. I envision our 51st start emblazoned in the center of all of the other stars, shining as brightly as our full rights will. HuffPost

If you want to keep the fight for statehood going, make sure you sign up for the 51st State newsletter. Read the latest issue here.

Dio Wine Bar is gone, but hopefully not forever. Eater

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