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She flipped off D.C.'s mayor

She flipped off D.C.'s mayor
By Gordon Chaffin • Issue #152 • View online
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A housed resident speaks with Chandra Brown, a homeless woman that interrupted Mayor Bowser's Franklin Park press conference. Photo by Gordon Chaffin
A housed resident speaks with Chandra Brown, a homeless woman that interrupted Mayor Bowser's Franklin Park press conference. Photo by Gordon Chaffin
“Black lives are going to hell,” says resident flipping off DC’s Mayor
Recently, I covered the re-opening of a downtown D.C. park and told the story of a woman who interrupted the ceremony, flipping the bird at Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Mere hours after workers finished laying sod on the last Friday of September, elected officials, government staff, and D.C. residents attended a reopening ceremony for Franklin Park. The five-acre downtown park was remade from the ground up to improve stormwater infrastructure, revitalize tree health, and provide facilities that better serve an “urban park.”
some D.C. residents are not happy with the renovation. Bowser’s remarks were interrupted by Chandra Brown, an unhoused woman, who sat in the front row next to the VIP guests. While the mayor was speaking, Brown’s demeanor changed and she began to yell. The interjection did not appear to be a reaction to any specific comment.
“Black Lives Matter [is] going to Hell!” yelled Brown. She commented on her struggle to get help for housing, healthcare, and freedom from police harassment, but after a few sentences, she was whisked out of her seat by a woman who identified herself as a fellow D.C. resident. 
Brown, who told Street Sense Media she is a mother of three and a participant in restorative justice workshops, said she is homeless and was recently released from jail. The two women sat together at a nearby fountain, where Brown expressed frustration at Bowser and D.C. government agencies. With composed urgency, she criticized the mayor’s $11 million special funding request for more police officers. “That money was supposed to go to us,” Brown said. (A smaller version of the mayor’s request was approved by the D.C. Council in August.)
Please read the full story here at the Street Sense website - https://www.streetsensemedia.org/article/black-lives-housing-franklin-park-reopening/
Homeless D.C. resident Chandra Brown (center) explaining her service needs to Ward 7 liaison Saudia Jenkins (right). Photo by Gordon Chaffin
Homeless D.C. resident Chandra Brown (center) explaining her service needs to Ward 7 liaison Saudia Jenkins (right). Photo by Gordon Chaffin
See all my photos from this event on the Street Sense Media Flickr account here - https://flic.kr/s/aHsmWMVWAb
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/unhoused-woman-dc-mayor-encampments/2021/10/13/7aae4420-2c58-11ec-baf4-d7a4e075eb90_story.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/unhoused-woman-dc-mayor-encampments/2021/10/13/7aae4420-2c58-11ec-baf4-d7a4e075eb90_story.html
I was heartened and flattered that Washington Post columnist Theresa Vargas mentioned my article in her column about D.C.‘s current homelessness situation. These investments in improving parks are great, but the government and business groups use them to thereafter prevent meal and health services to be given out in public spaces. Who is welcome in these — again, public — spaces? More and more D.C. residents are saying “not me.”
This article is part of Street Sense Sense Media's 2021 DC Homeless Crisis Reporting Project in collaboration with other local newsrooms. The collective works are published at DCHomelessCrisis.press.
This article is part of Street Sense Sense Media's 2021 DC Homeless Crisis Reporting Project in collaboration with other local newsrooms. The collective works are published at DCHomelessCrisis.press.
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Gordon Chaffin

This is Gordon Chaffin's newsletter. By day, he's a local journalist and current events storyteller living in Washington, DC. The goal: produce writing and multimedia -- civic participation resources -- that include, inform, and equip stakeholders with the least power to improve their community. On evenings and weekends, Gordon is a freelance audio/video producer and photographer. Topics of interest: transportation -- especially non-car transit -- plus housing, environmental justice, social and gender policies like family-medical leave, and education -- especially early childhood. Please send news tips to gordon[AT]streetsensemedia[DOT]org and freelance job inquiries to gordonchaffin[AT]gmail[DOT]com.

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