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Musical ‘East Of The River’ Examines A Gentrifying Anacostia

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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Nothing says “gentrification” quite like the opening of a Whole Foods.

That’s the message, at least, of a new musical about the idea that a location of the largely organic, high-priced grocery chain could one day open in Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood.

Anacostia lies east of the Anacostia River in Southeast D.C., in a part of the city that’s historically been more impoverished and more heavily African-American than other areas.

Gentrification — or, as advocates would say, “revitalization” — has brought changes throughout D.C. over the past 15 years or so. Areas once blighted now feature shops with gourmet coffee and independent bicycle stores. Access to fresh and healthy food can increase for residents living in “food deserts,” where it could previously have been hard to come by.

New spaces for artists can open — like the Anacostia Arts Center, which opened in 2013, and where the musical East of the River held its first and so far only publicly announced performance in a workshop performance Friday.

Star Johnson, the play’s creator, wanted to show multiple sides to the debate about gentrification.

“You don’t have some of these tropes that you’ve seen before,” Johnson says. “You know, the mean white guy saying, ‘Get out of this neighborhood! This is my neighborhood now!’ And you don’t have all the black people saying, ‘Don’t take our neighborhood away from us!’ It’s varied reactions.”

Opponents note that gentrification can raise rents and the cost of living, and longtime residents — and artists — can be forced out in search of more affordable areas.

Massive condominiums that all look the same start to crop up.

Read full story HERE

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Anacostia News

Lynette Voss, Owner of Anacostia’s Vintage & Charm

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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Side note: this is literally one of my favorite places to shop. I love everything they have to offer. I’m a true fan and customer! I highly recommend! This write up is from The Anacostia Art Gallery e-newsletter. “Like” them here.

DC native Lynette Loss was raised in Historic Anacostia. She became interested in vintage clothing at a very young age. Despite her passion for art and fashion, she studied Accounting Business Administration and received a B.A. Degree from the University of the District of Columbia.Lynette wore only vintage suits at work, she received so many compliments that she decided to start a wardrobing business and named it “Lynnie’s Fashions!”

While working full-time and operating her own business, Lynette took a part-time Sales Associate position at Nordstrom. She quickly worked her way up to Assistant Manager after becoming a top seller in the Women’s Active, Handbags and Fashion Jewelry Department.Lynette managed several clothing stores, owned and operated kiosks in local malls.

She hosted several fashion shows, displaying all of her fabulous finds. Finally she decided to open a boutique of her very own. That’s when Vintage & Charmed was born!Lynette takes great pleasure searching and finding all of the one-of-a-kind fashions that reside in her boutique.

Vintage & Charmed is located in the Anacostia Arts Center. Open Tuesday through Sunday.

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Anacostia News

#RethinkSchool: Bringing Hopes and Dreams to Those Most in Need

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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Like moths to a light, people from all over the country gravitate to Washington, D.C. – longing to make a difference, witness history and understand the complexities of the political process. I am like many young transplants that moved to D.C. for work and began to understand the social justice issues that threaten those who are native to our nation’s capital.

However I, unlike many other young transplants, had to quickly navigate the complexities of the education system. From my own experience, I know the difference a quality education and support system can make on students growing up in poverty.

So, when I moved to D.C. as the sole caregiver for my teenage sister, I knew exactly what she needed to be able to thrive. She needed a quality education, healthy community and individuals who could serve as mentors. As I researched areas to live and send my sister to school, I discovered Anacostia is home to some of D.C.’s poorest and most violent neighborhoods. From food insecurity to lack of affordable housing, the residents in this community are confronted with daily obstacles.

When I got word that a new charter school, Digital Pioneers Academy (DPA), was opening in Anacostia, I was curious. I wondered if the founder received the same information about the area that I had. I wanted to know her hopes for the school and dreams for the poverty stricken community. Most of all, how they were going to Rethink School.

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Anacostia Homes

ICYMI: The Horizon Opens in Ward 7

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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On Tuesday, October 9, Mayor Bowser cut the ribbon on The Horizon, the short-term family housing program in Ward 7, marking another step forward in delivering on her promise to close and replace DC General Family Shelter with dignified, service-enriched programs across all eight wards. The Horizon is the second of three short-term family housing programs opening this fall, following the opening of The Kennedy in Ward 4.

At The Horizon, families will have access to service-enriched programming that will help them stabilize and exit homelessness. The site includes 35 family units, computer labs for residents, administrative space for staff and providers, outdoor playground and recreational space, age-appropriate indoor recreation space, a homework and study lounge, and other amenities.

Learn more about The Horizon and the Mayor’s plan to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring HERE.

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