Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Change coming soon? From Sursum Corda to Northwest One

So two D.C. developers have been chosen to develop the Sursum Corda area. As the Washington Post describes the project: "The $700 million project is part of an ambitious strategy to attract mid- and upper-income families to help revitalize a struggling and once crime-ridden neighborhood, without displacing residents."

It's always comforting to see areas around your neighborhood being developed but this is an area that I would really like to see changes happen soon. During the summer, I taught at the Georgetown Law gym and would bike down 1st Street, NW to get home. Although the Union Station area is probably only a 20-30 minute walk from Eckington, I chose not to walk through the neighborhood because I just felt so uneasy in the area, even when I was careening through on my bike.

It was only after being in Eckington a couple of months that I read more about the Sursum Corda Cooperative and its crime-ridden history, which confirmed the anxieties I had when I was in the area. Hubby and I often drive by on the way home and I sometimes ask "What is going on over there?" or "What is that guy passing to that other person?" And hubby some times replies, "It's probably not a good idea to stare."

The fastest way to walk or bike from point A to B is usually just a straight shot but right now, to get to Chinatown, I take a longer route through Shaw. I can't wait not to have to plan my walking or biking routes to avoid an entire neighborhood.

18 comments:

AfroDC said...

Wow, it really is amazing to have confirmation about what African-Americans suspected of White people living in our neighborhoods. Your close-mindedness is sad. What's even worst is that you and your "hubby" are two reaons why 500 families will be displaced. The inhabitants of Sursum Corda, yes black and yes, some are drug dealers, weren't given the same opportunities as you or have the luxury to bike through and criticize someone else's neighborhood. Thank you again for confirming this for me, it helps me when we gather at nights to do our "kill-whitey" rituals.

dcavocado said...

I appreciate the comment. I'm going to post your comment as a blogpost as I'm pretty sure "gentrifiers" would appreciate knowing what their neighbors are thinking or at least have the opportunity to respond to your thoughts. Although I haven't been updating my blog during the summer as much so we'll see if there is any response. Oh, I'm not white, btw.

Anonymous said...

You folks are ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The Sursum Corda Community was created with an ideal- maintaining a stable, affordable community for low-income families. This ideal was sidelined when crack hit DC. Sursum became a hotbed for activity because of its strategic location and maze-like layout. While the rest of DC healed, dealers began to concentrate in Sursum. Though attempts were made by long-standing residents in the community in the mid-90s, without assistance from the Police Department, this became impossible. So what happens next, HUD finds a idiotic reason to foreclose on the property (a plug without a cover is not a reason to displace an entire family). However, the residents were smart, they organized and fought back. Now that they have managed to survive a foreclosure and to strike a development arrangement with the City, they are getting condemned by outsiders. Not everyone in there is bad. Not everyone in there is a drug dealer. If the police does absolutely nothing to help the residents about the drug problems there, who will? A 75 year-old senior who's been living there for 40 years.

Anonymous said...

ignorant ass cracka... i hope you get ran over riding your damn bike... or better yet a stray bullet as you pass the Cordas.

chloemon said...

ignorant ass cracka is right.

" Hubby and I often drive by on the way home and I sometimes ask "What is going on over there?" or "What is that guy passing to that other person?" And hubby some times replies, "It's probably not a good idea to stare." "

this is the kind of judgmental and condescending attitude that makes the people in these neighborhoods resent you. absolutely ridiculous.

AfroDCbro said...

So, Chloemon, you've manage to notice, while driving by in your car, a seemingly odd exchange between two individuals in the neighborhood. It's amazing that you've noticed this aparently open drug transaction while the heavy rotation of police in the neighborhood has not. Those lazy, corrupted toe-sucking coppers are good for nothing. I've seen them sleeping in their cruisers in the middle of the day, flirting with teenage girls, and might I say, overtly friendly behavior with the known dealers. And if the residents call the cops on any of the dealing activity, guess who tells the thugs who ratted them out? The same damn cops that show up. No wonder the majority of residents live in fear and crime continues as openly as it does here.

Emily said...

oridIt's is absolutely amazing the amount of insight that you lack. I do not care what race or ethnicity that you are as that does not matter, but you really have a terribly misconstrued and deluded image of Sursum Corda. Obviously it is not the ideal place to live and raise a family but that does not mean that every resident there is a criminal and will attack you simply because you are walking through. I am a student at the University of Maryland and am originally from Montgomery County. I volunteer every year in Sursum Corda with an organization called Little Friends for Peace which teaches the youth of the D.C. region, specifically this neighborhood, about peace and the alternatives they have to violence. It also fosters an engaging environment that acts as a refuge for the children. To write the things that you did is disheartening and shows that you just lack information. Perhaps you would be better informed if you took time to look at the website for the organization. If you are interested in broadening your horizons you can take a look at LFFP.org and even read this article that personally brought me to tears. http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/532785/af24ae68c6/1565501569/438afa9cb5/
I hope this helps you better understand your D.C. a little better:)

Anonymous said...

I live in sursum corda. It's easy being on the outside looking in. It is not all black here, there are chinese and latinos that live here also. It is an mixed income neighborhood, some people are civil servants,some own shops, and some are vendors. Yes, the neighborhood is plagued by gunshots. I do not live here because I want to, I am here because I can not afford to live anywhere else. I work and attend school so that I can make a better life for my family. I agree with the people who are afraid to walk through this neighborhood. I have heard of people getting knocked off of their bikes and scooters and the bikes and scooters are taken. You have to be careful in this neighborhood.

Problemwithentitledinsipidgeorgetownprincesses said...

I just found your blog, and loled. Just wanted to add to the cacophony; Whatever race you are, you sound like an "ig'nant ass cracker" to be sure.

Good luck with that overpriced row house in da hood. Hope your non- "mid- and upper-income" neighbors don't find out what you really think of them.

NadaDon said...

I live about two blocks North of the Cordas. I've been here my entire life. The place was a nightmare in the late 80s and early 90s, much like most of the other places in District during the crack epidemic. My mother always warned me to keep away from the neighborhood but when attending Walker Jones Elementary, a lot of my close friends were from the Cordas. They didn't choose the circumstances that kept them in the ghetto. Failed housing policies are to blame. You see, how it works in Sursum is how it works in the rest of the country. This just happens to be a really hot real estate spot now. Let me offer some experiences I've had there.

My best friend Mike lived in Sursum. He had four other siblings and his father had been in and out jail for years. The family was on welfare, but always seem to have nice things. When we were in High School together, it became apparent to me that his mother was a dealer. I began asking him about this and the way he presented it to me, I couldn't really blame them.

When he was 8, his father got sent away for a few years. His mother took this as a sign that she needed to do something better for her kids so she got a job for the first time in her life. She had dropped out of high school when she was pregnant with Mike's sister, so she didn't have a high school diploma. She got a job at a shoe store and began taking GED classes. Within a few months, they were at risk of being evicted and homeless. You see, all of years before, they only paid $15 a month in rent (which included all utilities) because neither parents were working. When his mother starting earning income the rent jumped from $15 to $385 a month. The welfare checks were reduced and they were barely surviving now. The only logical thing for Mike's mother to do was to quite her job and stay home and sell crack. That kept her family feed and a roof over their heads.

I know people will attack this and say what a lazy family, using the system. You all are right, but it's not their fault alone. The current system is designed like this. Rather than incentivize people to move out of poverty, they are penalized. Now multiply this by a couple hundred families and what happens?

I'm not siding political ideals on this, because both liberals and conservatives are wrong on this issue.

Anonymous said...

This is an old article, but I just read it -- so I guess I'll leave a quick comment as well. I've lived in the neighborhood for about 3 years now. Sursum is getting better to walk by, but is still sketchy. I had a kid toss a brick at me once -- no big deal, but not super nice on my way to work. Not sure why people are taking offense to the article either. Sursum is an unsafe area -- period. If you have to live there, sorry; but, that doesn't mean that someone commenting about it is an "ignorant ass cracka."

Anonymous said...

the author of this post did nothing wrong. i can't believe the pc police here jumped all over her.

http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2011/08/triple-shooting-at-520-this-morning-at-1st-st-nw-pierce-st-nw/#comments

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