Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Peace, No Progress: Now the NIMBY is me)

"No problem can be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it."

-Albert Einstein

I've written about how my neighbors and I oppose the Peaceaholics' plan to put
a group home for ex-offenders (which they and their friends in city government insist is merely an "apartment") next door to us and a shelter for battered women and their children.

Last night I rushed from teaching a class to get to a neighborhood council meeting where this topic was on the agenda. As I expected, I heard shouting as I got closer to the meeting. Then I heard someone yell that the meeting was adjourned.

What I didn't expect was that simply because I walked into the room and spoke to people who are not in favor of the project, a Peaceaholics supporter would zero in on me. She approached in the name of dialogue, but could barely contain herself. I heard about how I was one of those people who make a lot of money that prey on the community. I noted that I did not make a lot of money (my neighbors and I heard some of the same rhetoric--with the race card thrown in to boot--when we attempted to meet with the Peaceaholics before) and that if we both lived there, we were neighbors.

When others intervened, she calmed down but it didn't last. She did, however, take a moment out to calmly and wholeheartedly agree with one of our white male neighbors when he asserted that we are concerned for our safety. But then she ramped up again and repeatedly yelled in my face that I was not relevant because I didn't grow up in the neighborhood. I walked away and out of the building.

What I didn't expect was to find out the next day that the same woman who got in my face actually pushed one of my neighbors. The two were not talking at the time; she approached after my neighbor had stopped talking to her and went to speak to someone else.

What I didn't expect was to hear was that members of the Peaceaholics, including the top brass, followed another one of my neighbors to her car to intimidate and frighten her.

You can read other accounts of the meeting here:

Washington City Paper-
Chaos in Congress Heights Over Peaceaholics Group Home

Congress Heights on the Rise blog-
OK, This is Going to Hurt but Somebody Had to Say It


The Advoc8te said...

Girl - I don't play with that foolishness. If I had saw that push I would have called the police stat! BTW I do know who that girl is so if your neighbor wants the info I could give it to her - that was assault. They are trying to intimidate and that is so not cool.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, jb. As a suburbanite, I've been blissfully unaware... But I'm getting caught up on my blogroll, and I'm glad to see you and your neighbors standing up for yourselves.

(Also, you're teaching a class? That's awesome! Where, in what?)