The Washington Times - June 10, 2008, 11:12AM



You know, there is one thing that I find very amusing and a little annoying as well. There have been many times that I have been traveling and meet someone who says they are from DC. Since I am proud of my city, I feel the need to engage that person and find out what part of the city they live in.  So I will ask, ” what part of the city do you live? “  When they answer by saying Shaw, Anacostia, Brentwood or any of our other great neighborhoods, we usually have a good conversation.

Here’s the problem. There are some other people who will say they are from DC. And when you ask them what part of the city they live in their response sounds like a fast moving Metro train coming to a sudden stop. For example, I was on an Amtrak train traveling from New York to DC and sat down at a table in the club car to eat a snack. There were two women sitting at the table.

After nodding and saying hello, we began to talk. One of them asked where I was from and I said “DC.”   She said, “We live in Washington too. “  This was a good start to the trip because I could sit and chat with some fellow Washingtonians and pass the time. So I asked, “what part of the city do you live in?”  Now here comes that screeching and piercing sound of that fast moving Metro train coming to a sudden stop.  She said, ” I live in Fairfax.”  As you know Fairfax is in VIRGINIA!

Now I have to tell you that whenever I hear someone say they live in DC and they really live in one of the suburbs, it bothers me. It bothers me because they feel that it’s seems more vogue to say you live in DC rather than one of it’s burbs.  Many of these same people actually look at our fair city with disdain, as drain on our region and a crime hub. They can claim all that is positive about it from our sports teams, rich culture, entertainment, nightlife, and economic abundance. Yet they look at those who live here as though we were from some war zone or post apocalyptic land.

This is an interconnected region and DC is the hub. DC’s problems can potentially become regional problems.  And, the same can be said for Maryland and Virginia. Crime, economic woes and environmental issues spillover across borders and jurisdictions. So does abundance and prosperity.

Let’s be proud of the various jurisdictions we live in. I am a proud DC resident and live in an awesome neighborhood called Historic Brookland that I love.  But I am amazed and equally proud of the growth in downtown Silver Spring, MD, the arts district in Mt. Rainier, MD and the scope of development in Northern Virginia. These are all good things. But I am equally concerned about the fatal shootings in many DC neighborhoods, violent Latino gangs in Virginia and Maryland and the pollution of the Chesapeake Bay.

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Everyone in the Metro area should be proud that so much has grown and developed around this city. Our sprawling and prosperous suburbs stand on its shoulders. So by all means say you are from DC. But don’t only do it when it s convenient or serves your purpose. Claim it and be concerned about it.  We have to be concerned about each and every neighborhood and person in this region and work to ensure that all share in the richness and abundance it has to offer.

 

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 You can learn more about me at http://jayspeights.blogspot.com/ .  And be sure to buy my new book, “Harmonious Day.”