Msuic Lovers at Porchfest SE 2021
Msuic Lovers at Porchfest SE 2021

Two Events, One Community: Many Questions

Stan Benton, PresidentThe First Annual Penn Ave East Main Street’s Art All Night and the Third Annual Porchfest SE events have come and gone.  However, questions and concerns remain.

Both music-filled events were held in the rear parking lot of the renovated Penn Branch Shopping Center. What a milestone!  Inside the shopping center, we now have thriving businesses (and non-profits) with multi-year leases. Art Art All Night and Porchfest brought music, minority-owned vendors, special presentations, food trucks, dancing, and dozens of smiles under KN95 face masks, outside of the building. The shopping center that bears our name is becoming both an economic beacon and gathering place for our community.

Last Sunday, Channel 9 News featured a story about Adams Morgan and Penn Branch Porchfest events. Then, tragically, just 72 hours later, Nikiesha Thomas was fatally shot by her boyfriend in the same parking lot. This generated a different type of news story. A story that adds to the stigma that East of the River communities are violent, crime-ridden, and generally unsafe. Bad things will happen. Still, the question remains: How do we change the narrative about our area? Do we want to be known for festivals and community gatherings? Or, crime stats? Finally, what more can we all do to outweigh bad news with stories about good events in our community? The choices are ours.

 We all want what’s best for our community—and naturally, passions will flare as we debate different methods. However, our association is only as strong as your level of involvement and support. Join a committee: Help PBCA to better coordinate and plan future community events that will reflect the best of who we are. Become a block captain: Help us to distribute our newsletter and keep everyone informed about what is being planned.

Please continue to be safe, take care of each other, and I’ll see you at the meeting!

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