“I may not be that old, but I have seen a lot of history already. I was born and raised on 14th and Columbia Rd., and have seen so many changes take place around me. This city has really gone from nothing to something. We have more libraries, recs, youth centers, stores, and better schools. Now, I like to say that D.C. has more helpful things, as opposed to things that get us nowhere as a city. We went from liquor stores on every corner to libraries and grocery stores. Now, we just need to bring in some more shoe stores! Yes, I love shoes.
“My family goes back two or three generations in the neighborhood, so they tell me lots of stories about what went on before I was born. I like walking with my grandmother and aunt, as they talk about the things that used to be in the neighborhood. My grandmother likes to point out that the 7-11 on 14th and Columbia Rd used to be a laundromat, the Dunkin Donuts next door used to be a liquor store, and the condos down the way was a grocery store. My aunt was a go-go person, so she will tell me all about the old go-go spots in neighborhoods. For example, the Capitol City Charter School used to be a go-go where she would go dancing.
“Just like it is important to know the generations who came before you, I think it is important that we know about what used to be in a neighborhood and how it changed over time. While I am happy that we have less liquor stores, there were some other great, family businesses that used to be all over the city that aren’t here any more. Those places must have had so much history and culture that is now lost. That’s why I appreciate having my grandmother and aunt around who remember those things.
“My family helped me realize that this city is so much more that monuments, but about the culture and people who live here. You have so many people who are trying to get here to find better opportunities, or any opportunities, in life. Those of us who live here may not realize all of the amazing opportunities we have to learn all kinds of new things and meet great people, like me! So, if you are already here, get out and enjoy what we have. People come to this city to be amazed by what we do and see every day. That means something.”