Digital Archives Elbo Market

 

Interior

I visited the location claimed to be formly be John’s Place. That area/building is torn down and now a corner store called Elbo Market located at 1731 7th St NW. As I entered, I was immediately greeted by friendly workers in this convenience store. The store clerks were a bit uneasy with me entering the store and asking questions about the neighborhood and their place of establishment. The store is small, but the bright orange wall colors made the room pop. The clerks described the minimal changes within the neighborhood such as traffic light reconstruction and the new apartment buildings across the street located in 1700-1730 7th street NW. From his descriptions, it seems as though the 1700 block of 7th street NW are receiving the effects of gentrification.

 

Cultural

The Elbo Market does not contribute much to the 7th street society. The market provides goods to the local community, however there is a lack of support. The workers are very nice and the facilities are wonderful, however the workers seem out of touch within the community. There is a lack of community integration; not just within the store, but also within the local community.

 

Slowly Breathing Out

For this common place assignment, I chose to do something a little bit different. I am sharing a poem I recently wrote, which describes holding in pain and mixed feelings.

Inhale

Exhale

Inhale

*pauses*

      Holds Breath In

   Don’t know if ready to breath out

Inhaling mixed emotions;

Feelings.

   Urging to say something, but couldn’t.

  Inhaling the arguments,

The drama

Foolishness

Constantly trying to stay out

       Still getting dragged in

 

   Inhaling the negative surroundings,

Bad vibes

   Trying to keep afloat,

Still drowning.

       Inhaling worries

   Fears

Afraid people will know

But surely will find out

Inhaling the accusations

Assumptions

Thinking you owe the world an explanation,

But really don’t.

      Slowly Breathing Out

Psalms 37:4

A few months ago I found this dollar lying around on the ground of a laundromat. I picked it up and was ready to use it to buy a snack from the vending machine. Before inserting the dollar into the machine, I noticed there was a small inscription on the side of the dollar, which stated, “Psalms 37:4”. Initially, I thought it was weird finding a bible verse on a dollar bill. I immediately pulled out my phone and looked up the verse. Psalms 37:4 states, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart”. For a few minutes, I stood there in dismay and confusion. This was a period in my life where I slowly was losing touch with God and I found that dollar during that period. I wondered whether this was a coincidence or a message. I didn’t if there were more dollars out there with that same exact bible verse written out. I showed the dollar to my mom and she thought this was a message from God. I am not sure why that dollar and verse came into my life. I have always thought that it was weird that specific verse on was written on that dollar. That verse specifies that God is around when you give him a chance and appreciate his works.

Shida Shoes

These sandal-like shoes known to Eritreans as “shida” or “congos” are the staple of Eritrean culture, politics, and fashion. To outsiders, they seem like simple unsupportive shoes, but these flexible sandals are more than that. During the 1960s’, the peak of the Eritrean Ethiopian war conflict, Eritrean nationalist and soldiers wore the shoes during the struggle for independence. When a person wore the shoes, civilians automatically knew they were a fighter. Many of the Eritrean soldiers didn’t have a proper uniform at the time, but the shoes were worn by soldiers. The shoes became a part of the soldier uniform and essentially became a symbol of freedom for Eritreans. These shoes had many benefits such as its flexibility and many openings for the feet to breathe. As well, repairs were very easy. Whenever the shoe ripped, soldier burned the plastic pieces of the shoes together. The shoes were used again by soldiers during the 1998 war against Ethiopia. Now the shoes are popular amongst society as a fashion staple and historic symbol. There is a Shida statue located in Asmara dedicated to the soldiers who have fought for Eritrea’s independence. As an Eritrean, I believe it is important to know the significance of the shoes, especially since Western Society may not understand the importance. These shoes are a reminder of our Eritrean independence and struggles made. Unfortunately, Western Society has their own alteration of the shoes called “jellies” and lack historical significance and cultural appropriation.

Could Low Income Housing Save a Gentrified Community?

In his Federal and Local Officials Celebrate Construction Kickoff For Channing E. Phillips Homes At Shaw/Howard University Metro, author Chris Douthat discusses the impact of Channing E. Phillips Homes for lower income residents. The Channing E. Phillips Homes, located in the 1700 block of 7th street NW, is a subsidized apartment complex located near the Shaw-Howard Metro station. Ultimately, Douthat believes having the Channing E. Phillips Homes in place is beneficial for 7th street and is much needed for the community; he argues this belief through the use of examples such as statements from government officials. As such, having the Channing E. Phillips as part of the community is valuable for the low-income and rising community. Named after the late congressional candidate and civil rights leader Channing E. Phillips, the housing complex sponsored by the “Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ” is eight stories high and has over 100 affordable housing units. Through Douthat’s extensive history background on the sponsors for the subsidized housing complexes and collected statements from D.C. officials, he tries to argue that Channing E. Phillips will improve the community.

The Channing E. Phillips Homes, were recently added to the Shaw-Howard Community last fall. The apartments are available to those who make about 60 percent of the area median income, which is about $65,000 for a family of four. The Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ and Lincoln Congregational UCC, both church organizations collaborated to renovate the establishment. The 1700 block of 7th street NW was formerly known for holding some of the highest Shaw-Howard crime rates. As well, this location was the former home of “John’s Place”, my primary focus during my trip to Shaw-Howard. “John’s Place” was a nightclub located in the 1700 block of 7th street NW and was shut down almost a decade ago due to a shooting within the club. The specific location of this former club is varies, but significant changes were made within the neighborhood it formerly resided in. Although, there is a lack of evidence of the club existing, there are very few articles that report incidents within the club such as shootings. Newer facilities such as the local convenience store Elbo Market, Channing E. Phillips Homes, non-subsidized apartment complexes, and the Watha T. Daniel library were added to the neighborhood within the last decade. Ultimately, these new facilities became noteworthy aspects of the community and have altered the appearance of 7th street.

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Model image of the Channing E. Phillips building

Douthat’s article discusses how the Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ and Lincoln Congregational Temple UCC sponsors have had a previous history dating back to the 1960s of improving local communities through affordable housing. With providing a brief history of the organizations, Douthat is trying to demonstrate how these church groups are supporting their community and will possibly bridge housing gaps. As well, he uses these church groups’ previous history as examples  to demonstrate that the members have been active in supporting the community and could possibly provide the same results  within the apartment structures. Douthat states, “The development of this much needed housing is only possible due to the unique four-decade interracial partnership of two D.C.-area United Church of Christ (UCC) churches: Westmoreland Congregational UCC and Lincoln Congregational Temple UCC. The two churches became housing development partners to invest in the Shaw neighborhood in the late sixties when few others would. Their successful development of affordable housing dates back to 1969, when they broke ground on the Lincoln Westmoreland Apartments, a 108-unit, 10-story affordable apartment building now located next door to Channing E. Phillips Homes. The building is currently undergoing a renovation scheduled for completion later this year. Lincoln Westmoreland Housing subsequently provided land for the Shaw-Howard University Metro station infrastructure, which has improved access and economic opportunity for neighborhood residents”. Through his use of ethos, Douthat also uses the extensive history to assure his confidence in the success of the Channing E. Phillips Homes. As well, incorporating this idea of an “economic opportunity” may grab readers attention more, due to the emphasis on currency and the relevance currency has on societal structures. 

Even though Douthat uses extensive history to confirm his beliefs of how helpful the Channing E. Phillips Homes will be and is, he uses statements from councilmen and representatives such as Polly Donaldson of Washington D.C. to confirm his idea. Polly Donaldson a DHCD Director within Douthat’s article states, “Creating pathways to the middle class includes developing inclusive and diverse communities. To do this we must produce, protect and preserve more affordable housing for residents at all income levels. The Shaw neighborhood is rich in culture, so being able to revitalize these properties will not only allow the city to preserve the existing 108 affordable units and build 56 new affordable units for DC residents, but make it possible for the neighborhood to maintain its history and character. Projects like these are an example of the positive impact the Mayor’s $100M commitment to affordable housing can have on the city, once those dollars are invested”. Using Donaldson statement affirms Douthat’s idea of Channing E. Phillips apartments being supportive of the 7th street community.

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Local Officials celebrating the construction kickoff

Also, Marvin Turner director of HUD’s area field office stated in Douthat’s article “A project such as this is only possible when all of the pieces of the puzzle come together: location, vision, people of good will, financial commitments, great design and stellar execution,” observed Lincoln Westmoreland Housing President David Jacobs. “It’s gratifying that after all of the years of groundwork, these badly needed homes will soon be available to our neighbors who need them,” he added. “This is a wonderful story of a faith-based initiative leveraging a government investment with private sector funds to produce transit-oriented affordable development”.  Turner ultimately agrees with Douthat’s philosophy that the Channing E. Phillips is and will be helping the community beyond.

Douthat initial target audience are readers of his article, specifically those who might be outside of the local Shaw-Howard community. He uses his article and extensive research to promote to readers that having a low-income housing apartment complex, specifically within a community with previous rising poverty rates will help residents keep afloat; especially during gentrification and rapid changes within a community. Through his pathos approach, he is gaining audience empathy and support; he already previously explains how majority of the 7th street community is in support of the low income housing complex.

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Community meeting near the Channing E. Phillips facilities

Through the initiatives of the reputable church organizations, the history behind those groups, emphasis on economic opportunity, and the support of official government, Douthat provides a strong case for why the Channing E. Phillips apartment complexes is beneficial for the community. Ultimately Douthat believes the Channing E. Phillips apartment complex caters to local residents. Douthat exploits the community’s previous poverty issues and having these new renovated apartment complexes will help fix the income and housing gap. Overall, having the Channing E. Phillips will help save low income residents from poverty, especially during renovations and gentrification changes.  

 

Works Cited

Douthat, Chris. “Federal And Local Officials Celebrate Construction Kickoff For Channing E. Phillips Homes At Shaw/Howard University Metro”. Georgetown, DC Patch. February 27, 2017. http://patch.com/district-columbia/georgetown/federal-and-local-officials-celebrate-construction-kickoff-channing-e-phillips-homes-shawhoward.

Beckett’s Try Again

Samuel Beckett has once stated “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Published within his “Worstward Ho!” novel, Beckett urges reader to continue to not not give up readily, but continuously make efforts. Beckett does not specify why to to keep trying. However, it is safe to assume that he is sending an underlying message that he wants readers to learn from mistakes, become stronger, and push forward. The way Beckett sends the message is very interesting and it seems as though he is asking someone. If he took the DC IC approach, Beckett’s statement would not have the same effect. The conversation approach Beckett took seems as though he is trying to be a friend. A friend will encourage you to keep pushing forward.

Semitic Linguistic Group in Eritrea

Tribes within the Semitic group relate to the Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic cultures and languages. The Tigrinya and Tigre tribes are under the Semitic group. The Tigrinya and Tigre are similar to each other, especially in religion and social structure. Both tribes are more alike to each other compared to the other tribes. Many of the people within both tribes are farmers and/or shopkeepers. The Tigrinya and Tigre tribes generally get along since there are similarities, but do not get along with the Nilotic group. The Nilotic group consists of the Nara and Kunama tribes. The Nara and Kunama tribes have very different political and cultural views compared to the Tigrinya and Tigre. The Nara and Kunama tribes inhabited Eritrean land longer than the Tigrinya and Tigre tribes. The Tigrinya tribe have tried to influence the Kunama tribe to conform to their views. An example, would be dress wear. Typically, people of the Kunama tribe roam around the area with limited clothing, due to the culture and extreme weather surrounding the inhabited land and the Tigrinya tribe enforced more of the usage of clothing. Overall, the Tigre and Tigrinya tribes do not really have issues with the other tribes/groups.