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June 13,2020

16th Street NW — DC’s Corridor of Light

  This sign beckons us to remember and say their names. I noticed it in a neighbor's yard on 16th St. NW DC about two blocks south of the Circle during my Friday night my walk through my neighborhood. A week ago, neighbors had gathered along to support the resistance in the District. There is a tradition of protesters lining 16th Street because it ends at Lafayette Park. The address of the White House is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Historically, 16th Street is the city's "Corridor of Light." In Anthony Browder's "Egypt on the Potomac: A Guide to Decoding Egyptian Architecture," on December 20, 1973,...

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June 7,2020

Black Economic Outcomes Matter

Given the events since the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, I reviewed a set of ideas that were in my files. I had summarized my thinking with hopes to develop the analysis I had outlined. I can’t find a date for these notes, but I most likely made them in the mid-1980s. At that time, I had focused a lot on urban policy. In my edited notes below, I am suggesting that violence and protest are as American as apple pie, and another American tradition is that violence breeds counter-violence and protest. Where we stand after the...

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June 7,2020

The Gentrification Narratives

 On September 11, 2018, I provided comments to attendees at the HumanitiesDC showcase of the projects that had examined Washington DC in 1968. Based on my work with the DC Living Heritage Network, I suggested a “Gentrification Narratives Framework" to help us think about what a cultural narrative for DC might look like as we look forward beyond 2018. Here’s an outline of my suggestions. 1. Narratives of Disorientation:With the changing physical and demographic landscapes, areas of our city are no longer recognizable.Previous points of visual orientation no longer exist.New spaces and functions leave us wondering where we are.Residents comment constantly...

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June 2,2020

To Gain Statehood, Will DC Have To Turn White?

To Gain Statehood, must DC wait until it's predominately white? People earnestly and frequently ask me this question, as we watch the percentage of the black population in the city dip below 50%. My answer: Maybe. Maybe not. I equivocate because I believe that changes in the District’s governance structure occur when the existing model makes the city ungovernable. I base this on my reading to the history of the District of Columbia. City-level “ungovernability” and national and international “ungovernability” are linked as well.  But more on that in another post. One of those “moments of ungovernability” exists today due to the harmful...

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January 25,2019

Communities of Critical Thinkers: The Manchurian Candidate

“Major Marco” (Denzel in The Manchurian Candidate 2004) had a palpable feeling that something wasn't right. His internal incongruence kept him pushing despite his seemingly preposterous claims. He, along with others of his platoon, new they were crazy. Our challenge is to turn our internal everyday incongruities into a search for answers. "What are we going to believe" -- to paraphrase Groucho Marks -- the messages coming our way or our internal incongruities. I hear more and more people saying: “Something is not right.” To pull a quote from the movie, “Network:” They are mad as hell and don't want...

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January 25,2019

Against Creativity

In "Against Creativity," there is a chapter titled "Politics: Austere Creativity." "Coping" is a creative response to imposed, harsh political conditions. In news reports today, we are reading about how "coping" is happening, or not, amid our current political crisis. For Oli Mould, as we are engaged in "austere creativity," we need to be moving towards "true creativity," which takes us beyond "coping" to (i) envisioning a society where each of us is "thriving" and (ii) working to bring that type of community into existence.

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February 20,2016

Mindfulness Theories & Practices #21: Kendrick Lamar

Untitled 3 (Grammy Performance) Kendrick Lamar   “Untitled,” yet designated by a number. “Untitled,” yet identified by an occasion. “Untitled,” yet attached to a performer’s name.   This “untitled performance” — This “evocation”   Reminds me of one the saddest sights I see on the streets of Baltimore: Black boys and men — in chains — shuffling out a van and into the courthouse.   Calls us to break the chains of slavery, Jim Crowism, racial segregation, economic & social redlining, and incarceration.   Charges us to reclaim our past that existed before we were enslaved and became strangers in...

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February 16,2016

Mindfulness Theories & Practices #18: Beyonce–Get In “Formation”

What was it? It wasn’t the 50th  Anniversary of the Summer of 1964 It wasn’t the 50th  Anniversary of the Signing of the Civil Rights Act It wasn’t the 50th  Anniversary of the March on Washington It wasn’t the 50th  Anniversary of Freedom Summer It wasn’t the 50th Anniversary of the March from Selma to Montgomery It wasn’t the 50th Anniversary of the Uprising in Watts It was the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl It was a half-time show at a football game   It was a narrative that was so contested that offenses and defenses flooded the field,...

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