Good afternoon, Capitol Hill! Yesterday, Congress held a hearing on statehood. It was at times rousing, at times emotional, and at times, it was crap like this (ClockoutDC on Instagram). You can visit The Hill for a recap and for the chance to see Ward 6 DC statehood activists illustrating the article! (We were at the statehood rally as well. THIH)
Over the weekend, the outer perimeter of the Capitol fence came down and we all gladdened, documented it and celebrated. The Monocle, behind a fence since January 6, has been freed (Washington Post). Of course, the Capitol grounds –the area we’re all now suddenly calling Capitol Square– is still behind a fence. This means no more headshots, Christmas tree, water pit stops at the Grotto at the Summerhouse– and, perhaps most importantly, it also means no protests there. DCist has more details.
Throughout the Capitol fence ordeal there has been an undercurrent of frustration among groups that care for chronic problems in our society such as homelessness. Some of the people who’ve selflessly dedicated their time and focus to endemic causes, an accumulation of years of unfair practices, ignoring of entire populations and discriminatory treatment, feel that focusing on an acute issue such as a fenced-off symbol of democracy isn’t worth time or attention. I can understand the frustration of feeling like your cause routinely gets ignored for other seemingly shinier or more appealing causes. The Capitol is, however, the People’s house: all people. Allowing the militarization of our seat of government and our neighborhood, which are intrinsically linked, like it or not, sets a precedent for normalizing militarization everywhere– starting with our most vulnerable communities. This is a problem with long-lasting impact to our morale as a country.
Speaking of our most vulnerable, a non-profit called Look Up Lift Up distributed winter coats with monetary help from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. This quote is particularly poignant: “Homelessness in Washington DC is twice the national average. There are 9.3 homeless persons for every 1,000 DC residents. The three main causes of homelessness are loss of income, higher cost of living, and inadequate affordable housing.” Cision. Fences come and go, but the homeless are always with us. If you have a stimulus check you don’t need, I encourage you to donate it to one of our non-profits addressing the problem, such as Serve Your City.
Another area of deep disparity is vaccine distribution. Online access, clear understanding of the English language and technology obstacles stack the deck against people of color, immigrants and the most vulnerable. We all want the vaccine, but equity sometimes looks like waiting your turn a little longer. WAMU
Friend of the blog Ted Nigrelli (whose beautiful photos you may have seen illustrating our blog posts and those of other local publications) was interviewed by WUSA-9 because he and his wife, though at very high risk for coronavirus, are too young to be prioritized agewise, and they have had no luck with the DC vaccine portal. Wishing them the best of luck as we enter another week of vaccination lottery.
We may be making great strides in vaccination and the pandemic may soon be in the rearview mirror, but for some of us, the scars left behind may be long-lasting. Washingtonian reports on the stressful living conditions at Novel South Capitol, where many tenants and some staff have refused to wear masks and flouted posted rules. The DC Attorney General’s office has received a complaint. Raw Story also reports on the story.
In transportation news, many of our Ward 7 neighbors want the DC Streetcar to extend east all the way to Minnesota Avenue metro; however, it seems not everyone in the community sees the streetcar as a good option. The tireless Gordon Chaffin has a thorough rundown, including links to upcoming meetings to discuss the future of this extension. Street Justice
Do things truly happen in Washington unless they get New York Timesplained? At any rate, the Gray Lady looks at the new breed of political spouse arriving in the Capital, meaning that they, too, are cooing over Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Secretary Pete, hanging out and having some Wine and Butter like the rest of us, among other things. And really, it’s nice to have people who seem more in touch with reality coming to live among us mortals here in DC.
Looking for places to keep watching March Madness? The Going out Guide has several options in our neck of the woods. The list, however, is missing Trusty’s or The Roost, but there. I told you.
The Petal Porch Parade spirit is going strong among Capitol Hill neighbors. It’s safe to say that our neck of the woods is looking very festive, at least per the official map, which you can access here. Decorating? You can still sign your porch up– or just enjoy the pink decor and do it on the down low.