Students Create Supplement for District Newspaper to highlight Anacostia
Dick Gregory(C) AND PUBLISHER DENISE ROLARK BARNES meEt with students at the Washington Informer. WASHINGTON, DC - Washington, D.C. –University of the District of Columbia (UDC) journalism students are spending a semester writing for the Washington Informer Newspaper in Southeast, Washington, as part of the new "Community Journalism: Urban Reporting" class. The students will produce a supplement in November focusing on the Anacostia community.
Karen Woodbury, a student in the class, said of the experience, “I am spreading my reporter's wings by locating my own sources and creating relationships with people who trust me with their stories."
Meanwhile for Kevin Coleman, the class is appealing because it allows students to discover investigative reporting, “Washington D.C. is a great place to learn journalism with its high profiled presence of community and interesting people,” he said.
For Professor Joseph Elam, who created and teaches the course, students are exposing major social issues in urban communities, such as drugs. “They can relate that and show how it fragments the family, destroying the whole work ethic and how everything that sustains a community is destroyed by that one single problem ravaging that community, that neighborhood,” he said.
Throughout the three-month course, students have been bolstered by the support of residents and well-wishers alike. Former comedian and community activist Dick Gregory paid a surprise visit to the students in September. Gregory spoke to them about a variety of issues including what he thinks is behind Chicago’s high murder rate. Gregory commented, “How come 99% of them are men? When did they get that kind of integrity? I’ll kill the men. It’s a different if they talking ‘bout gangs, men. These are just folk standing on the corner. That’s organ stealing.”
Washington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes appreciated Gregory’s visit. “For him to drop into the office to have an opportunity to speak to students, it was an excellent opportunity, and I think it’s important for us to constantly ask the questions, the questions that journalist ask, but specifically, the why,” she added.
For students who have been working on individual stories, coverage has taken them all over the area including the Barry Farms community, once plagued by drugs and crime. Things have improved, but there are still problems, according to Greg Baldwin, founder of Helping Hands Inc. “Homicides are down, but burglaries are up,”he said. The group is now organizing its 5th annual Thanksgiving Giveaway. Baldwin added, “We give away coats, household supplies, including Turkeys. We feed the community on-site and give them groceries to take home. Boys get their hair cut and girls get their hair done.”
Chuck Brown Park Gets Budget, Looks for Artist
SITE PLANS FOR THE CHUCK BROWN MEMORIAL PARK.
(COURTESY OF CAPRICIA GALLOWAY)
WASHINGTON, DC - Plans for renovations of the Chuck Brown Memorial Park have reached the procurement stages. This means that The DC Department of General Services (DGS) will provide a budget of $325,500 to construct the park and provide the artistic detail.
The next step is to hire a contactor to refurbish the site in the Langdon neighborhood off of Rhode Island Avenue, NE. DGS will partner with The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) to find an artist or artist team to work with the community and the Brown Family to develop a permanent public art installation. According to a DGS request for proposal, “The artist’s work will include the design, fabrication and permanent installation of an artistic element that will be included in the Chuck Brown Memorial Park.” Interested parties had the opportunity to attend a site visit and informational session on Sept. 14 at the park and had to respond to the request by Oct. 11.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 14 a community meeting will focus on final renovation details. At this meeting, which will be held at either Woodridge Library or Landgon Community Center, residents and community members will have an opportunity to meet with DCCAH and provide feedback and inspiration to vetted semi-finalists about their site-specific proposals. Two residents from the community will also be selected to serve on The Chuck Brown Project Artist Selection Panel, which will meet on Jan. 17 to select the final artist. In early January 2014, once the proposals are complete, the community will have the opportunity to view them and provide additional feedback prior to the final artist being selected.
The plan for the memorial was unveiled at a ceremonial groundbreaking held on Aug. 22 attended by Mayor Vincent Gray and Brown’s children. Brown’s daughter KK was overwhelmed by the gesture. “It's an honor that they [are] honoring my father,” she said. “It means everything. It's his birthday, so it's like emotional. It's a great thing. We're really honored that they're doing this for my dad.”
Jackie Stanley of DGS thanked the community for its support of the project and encourages community input saying, “If you have any questions or concerns please let me know and please share this update with your neighbors, family and friends.”
Seniors Enjoy Bodywise program
STUDENTS KEEP MOVING IN BODYWISE
PHOTO BY MADELINE LACORE
No matter the age, we all can benefit from doing the right things when it comes to our bodies. Just ask.
The University of the Distict of Columbia’s (UDC) Institute of Gerontology’s Body Wise program provides seniors a wealth of options for maintaining a healthy body.
Laurie Blackmon Thompson is its Program Director. “Bodywise is an exercise and wellness program for older persons 60 years of age or older who reside in the District of Columbia. Participants are able to take exercise classes in the form of low impact aerobics, water aerobics, chair movement and yoga,” she commented.
The program is funded by the DC Office on Aging. Land Grants program and Wellness Centers can be found in each of the CITY’s EIGHT wards. There are approximately 400 people enrolled at the UDC Center. Thompson believes it’s an important community based outreach. She added that, “Because a lot of persons have different ailments and the physical activity helps to keep them moving, it tends to keeps them functional, it increases their quality of life. They have persons that they can socialize with by coming to class and it’s therapeutic for most individuals.”
Through advertisements, word of mouth and websites, prospective participants discover the program. You must obtain a medical release form signed by a physician, but Thompson says you don’t have to be referred. “Because a lot of persons have different ailments and the physical activity helps to keep them moving, it tends to Keeps them functional, it increases their quality of life. They have persons that they can socialize with by coming to class and it’s therapeutic for most individuals,” she said.
Thompson started out as an instructor of the program and now is its program director saying, “I love Bodywise, I think it’s a great program. I think that it allows people to be active, it’s a free program. So it’s ah it’s inviting to all, there’s no worry about money, and payment and things like that. I think it’s a good opportunity for people to come together in a healthy and positive way, so I think it’s a much needed service for the community.“
The UDC men's soccer team is making a difference in the community, hosting its 3rd Annual Youth Day to start the 2013- 2014 season. Around 85 people came from different parts of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
The 5th Annual Green Living Expo D.C. offered a variety of helpful tips to attendees ranging from becoming energy efficient, to how to save and cut cost by using D.C. tap water.
This month offers plenty of live music and concerts to see in Washington, D.C. A few are listed here.
Fall is the busiest fashion season of all. Not only do retailers get ready for the switch in seasons, but also Fashion Week is where some of the biggest cities like Paris, London and New York showcase next year’s spring fashion.