Monday, October 06, 2008

Diversity in DC

Shout out to all of the wonderful folks I met yesterday in the nation's capital. I led a workshop called "Writing My Identity" at the All Souls Unitarian Church located in the Columbia Heights/Adams Morgan neighborhood. You didn't have to be a member of the church to take the workshop but the majority of workshop participants were, and what a lovely rainbow bunch of people it was, each with an interesting story to tell. There was the Jamaican woman who had lived many years in Russia, the second generation Chinese woman from San Francisco, the Afro-Cubana who didn't learn the meaning of Black until she moved to the U.S. and the list goes on. It was a treat to be surrounded by so many interesting people eager to talk about my two favorite subjects, writing and identity.

I haven't been in DC in a long while and was pleasantly surprised to see so many different black, white, brown and yellow faces strolling down the same streets, hearing English and Spanish in equal measure. I don't know if that's a rarity viewed only in that particular 'hood or something special is going on in DC. And then to make my Meltingpot juices flow even more, I stepped into the grooviest bookstore/cafe calledBusboys and Poets and wanted to make it my permanent home.

From their website, Busboys and Poets is:
"... a community gathering place. First established in 2005 Busboys and Poets was created by owner Anas "Andy" Shallal, an Iraqi-American artist, activist and restaurateur. After opening, the flagship location at 14th and V Streets, NW (Washington DC), the neighboring residents and the progressive community, embraced Busboys, especially activists opposed to the Iraq War. Busboys and Poets is now located in three distinctive neighborhoods in the Washington Metropolitan area and is a community resource for artists, activists, writers, thinkers and dreamers."

I did a reading there and met dozens of extraordinary, colorful people. There should be a Busboys and Poets in every city to bring the beautiful people together, working to change the world. That's what the energy felt like in there. I didn't want to leave. (sigh)

Of course this was only a small taste of DC, but I'm curious from folks who live there full-time. What's DC like in terms of diversity? Do people of different races often mix and mingle? Where and how?



Mango Mama said...

Girl, Loverman and I love Busboys and Poets too. We need one here in Philly.

Anonymous said...

I love DC but find it to be one of the most racially segregated cities I've ever lived in. There are strict demarcations of black vs white neighborhoods and this extends to clubs and eateries and grocery stores. But it's been a few years since I've lived there and hopefully things have changed...what I love about it is that there are a lot of very diverse people, which is lovely to see, but very little commingling, in my opinion.

LT said...

Of course you do! And I'd be so psyched to see Busboys in Philly.

Anon, thanks for the insider's view. It's so easy to get the wrong impression from a quickie stop thru.
And thanks for reading the Meltingpot!