Keep it real: Whole Foods & DHS should be neighbors

Keep it real: Whole Foods & DHS should be neighbors

I’m having a problem. We all knew H Street in DC (a historically black area in city) had been slated for gentrification for quite some time now. That fact is not news but what bothers me is the lack of integrity and just blatant classism behind it.

Literally across the street from the new swanky Whole Foods is an empty storefront of a DC Human Services office. Not long ago, it was routine to see people–largely people of color– braving the weather conditions, lined along the sidewalk waiting to get into the office.

Why did the Human Services office move? Was it mere coincidence or is it just socially unbalanced to have a Whole Foods across the street from a human services office? What would that imagery do for curb appeal? What would the neighbors say?

I’m appalled at how we are able to justify and accept the shifting of people and problems in our society. The newspaper headlines celebrate a neighborhood welcoming a new quality grocer but the reality is that it’s presence has outcast a core group of people that once inhabited that community.

Mob mentality pervades and wins. Somehow we all still get excited about the gourmet restaurant and 16-tap bar that will be located inside the new Whole Foods. We forget the growing number of those in need that have been redirected to another corner pocket of town.

We say we want justice. We protest, march and pray for signature events. Yet it’s easy to move on and when it’s really time to speak out, we say nothing.

This post is dedicated to those people–the displaced of H Street.

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