• Potomac Gardens’ Resident Fights HIV & Addiction

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    Published July 24, 2015 at 8:43 pm - No Comments Meet Charles Wright. He’s a tenant at 1229 G Street SE, which is home to about 140 seniors and persons with disabilities inside the Potomac Gar ...

    Potomac Gardens’ Resident Fights HIV & Addiction
  • First Source Jobs Action

    http://www.grassrootsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/DC-Jobs-for-DC-Residents-325x225.jpg

    Published July 21, 2015 at 1:36 pm - 2 Comments According to DC law (specifically the District of Columbia’s First Source Employment Agreement Act of 1984), city residents should be given pri ...

    First Source Jobs Action
  • Support Affordable Housing by Supporting Museum Square Tenants

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    Published July 19, 2015 at 7:12 pm - No Comments Museum Square is a Section 8 apartment complex in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Section 8 or Housing Choice Voucher Program is a ...

    Support Affordable Housing by Supporting Museum Square Tenants
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Program Leading to Construction Jobs

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    Published July 13, 2015 at 2:57 pm - No Comments Looking for a job in construction, but have no experience? Sign up for this pre-apprenticeship program today! Call by Thursday July 16 to get into th ...

    Pre-Apprenticeship Program Leading to Construction Jobs
  • A Sunday to Dream: Concert to Benefit Back Burner Dreams

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    Published July 9, 2015 at 2:43 pm - No Comments Written, directed, and produced by Brenda Hayes, Back Burner Dreams: A Women’s Passion Project, is the story of Carla, Stephanie, and Melanee three ...

    A Sunday to Dream: Concert to Benefit Back Burner Dreams
  • What to the American Slave Is Your 4th of July?

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    Published July 2, 2015 at 12:55 pm - One Comment Our history books tell us that the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. And it did… more or less. But no one can possibly c ...

    What to the American Slave Is Your 4th of July?
  • DC Ferguson Shuts Down Chinatown Demanding Lanier Actually End Jump-Outs

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    Published June 19, 2015 at 10:44 am - 3 Comments Cross-Posted from DC Independent Media Center Written by Luke On the 16th of June, DC Ferguson returned to the streets and shut down Chinatown, deman ...

    DC Ferguson Shuts Down Chinatown Demanding Lanier Actually End Jump-Outs
  • DC Ferguson Movement Protest Against Racist, Militarized Policing

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    Published June 15, 2015 at 6:18 pm - No Comments Posted on Behalf of DCFerguson On June 16th 1976 twenty-thousand Black students took to the streets of South Africa to protest the imposition of the ...

    DC Ferguson Movement Protest Against Racist, Militarized Policing
  • Evaluating School Reform in the District of Columbia

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    Published June 11, 2015 at 9:44 pm - 9 Comments The National Research Council Makes Its Report, Finally It feels like forever that DC Public Schools have been known as one of the worst (if not the ...

    Evaluating School Reform in the District of Columbia
  • Charnice Milton Was Killed in Community She Loved

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    Published June 3, 2015 at 2:21 am - One Comment Cross-posted from The Root Written by Richard Prince A 27-year-old African American reporter who committed herself to covering the blackest, most neg ...

    Charnice Milton Was Killed in Community She Loved
  • Potomac Gardens Gets New Playground… At Last

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    Published May 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm - 4 Comments Last week’s post A Place to Play: Potomac Gardens, Public Housing and Our Children made clear that the playground at the Potomac Gardens public hou ...

    Potomac Gardens Gets New Playground… At Last
  • Media Activist Responds To Geraldo, Fox News, the Mainstream Media about Freddie Gray

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    Published May 4, 2015 at 12:02 pm - No Comments Cross-Posted from Media Matters written by Brian PowellL & Libby Watson video credit Benjamin Hancock Kwame Rose, the Baltimore resident who conf ...

    Media Activist Responds To Geraldo, Fox News, the Mainstream Media about Freddie Gray
  • The Proposed Exelon-Pepco Merger: A Basic Primer

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    Published March 30, 2015 at 1:42 pm - No Comments On March 20, 2015, the CEO of Exelon Chris Crane will testify before the DC Public Service Commission about his company’s efforts to buy Pepco Hold ...

    The Proposed Exelon-Pepco Merger:  A Basic Primer
  • DC Ferguson Reacts to Killing of Robert Gross in Metro Tunnel

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    Published March 18, 2015 at 2:02 pm - No Comments As reported by the Washington Post, 35-year-old Robert Gross, resident of Virginia and the District, was shot to death by a Metro Transit Police offi ...

    DC Ferguson Reacts to Killing of Robert Gross in Metro Tunnel
  • Justice for Raphael Briscoe Rally & March

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    Published February 20, 2015 at 2:15 pm - 2 Comments #DCFerguson will hold a rally, 6pm, February 22 at the Congress Heights Metro Station in Washington DC and March to the 7th District Police Station. ...

    Justice for Raphael Briscoe Rally & March

Potomac Gardens’ Resident Fights HIV & Addiction

Charles_WrightMeet Charles Wright.  He’s a tenant at 1229 G Street SE, which is home to about 140 seniors and  persons with disabilities inside the Potomac Gardens Public Housing Complex.  Charles is a senior with a seizure disorder.  He also has HIV.  He was diagnosed in 1999 or somewhere there abouts.  A number of people living at 1229 G Street SE are HIV positive or living with AIDS, but not many are willing to talk about it.  As a volunteer at Whitman Walker Charles is not shy about the disease, his condition or how he got there.

Charles Wright was born and raised in the District of Columbia.  He and his family lived on Euclid Street Northwest in Petworth, which even then was a relatively fashionable.   He fully admits that he was very spoiled.  He bought his clothes at Woodies and Landburgh’s.  His father bought him a Triumph Spitfire.  Plenty of girls were interested in Charles but there was only one girl for him.  Yes indeed, Charles Wright was a big man at Roosevelt Senior High School.   Like the other popular boys, he played basketball in a park on Hamilton Street and smoked reefer with his best friend Ronald and the other guys playing pick up ball on the court.  Eventually, the reefer led to harder drugs, heroine, cocaine and eventually crack.

It’s hard to say when Charles contracted HIV.  Despite his drug use, he functioned reasonably well.  After high school, he went to Maryland Eastern Shore for accounting, but he left after two years.  It was enough to land him a job at the United Planning Organization and later a better job as a tax accountant at the Department of Finance and Revenue.  But the money he was making, didn’t allow him to live the spoiled life to which he had become accustomed.  He needed money, not just for the drugs but to dress well and look good when he went to the clubs.  So Charles started forging checks and credit cards.

His drug use lost him his high school sweet heart, but looking good at the clubs got him a new girl.  “We met at Tiffany’s,” Charles remembers fondly.  “She had pretty feet.  In fact, that was my pick up line, ‘you have cute toes.'”  They danced the Hustle and because it was pay day, Charles bought everyone at the table a drink.  The rest is history.  They fell in love, moved into an apartment together in Northeast DC and had a son.

All was going smoothly until he got caught for his forgery and found out that he was positive for HIV.  Fortunately, he hadn’t infected his partner and so his son was spared as well.  He spent eight years in a low-security prison.  When he got out, he was still using drugs but this time without the steady accounting job or the illegal income.   Charles and his son’s mother continued to get along well, but he didn’t move back in with her.  She didn’t ask for child support and encouraged him to be a part of their son’s life.  He admits that he might have been more present for his son, if he hadn’t been chasing the drugs.  Somewhere during this time, Charles’ high school friend Ronald died of an overdose.

Fortunately, for Charles he found Whitman Walker and his life began to turn around.  Having finally decided to quit using drugs, he started going to their Narcotic Anonymous meetings.  Eventually, he was allowed in their drug rehabilitation program, which unlike the vast majority of in-patient treatment programs, was entirely free.   That was three years ago.  Charles stayed off drugs for two of those years but eventually, overcome by loneliness, he started using again.  “I was frustrated and mad,” he says, “so I started using weed and crack again.  The loneliness is the hardest part about drug use.  You get in your apartment and you just get lonely.  And then you go and do what happens.”

Charles still struggles to keep from using but he is trying to quit again.  He has a new girl friend.  She does not like his drug use and Charles wants her to be proud of him.  So, he’s started going to the Narcotics Anonymous meetings at Whitman Walker again.  “In the beginning, they know you won’t be clean,” he says, “but by taking the meetings, they expect you to get strong enough to get clean.”   Charles hopes to go through Whitman Walker’s drug treatment program again when they agree he’s ready.  In the meantime, Charles volunteers on the Whitman Walker outreach truck, passing out condoms and teaching the public how to avoid infection.  He advises Lifestyle condoms over Trojans and for heterosexuals, female condoms  over male condoms.

Charles is open about his status because he wants to make a difference.  Whitman Walker is known for working with Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender individuals, but they welcomed Charles who fits into none of those categories.  Potomac Gardens is proud to count Charles Wright as a member of the community.  We are also grateful to Whitman Walker for opening its doors to the public housing community, whose members are too often stigmatized and rarely given the second and sometimes third chance that everyone deserves.

Charles was interviewed for the Whitman Walker promotional video above.  In it, he is given the last line.  You’ll have to watch it all the way to the end to find out what that line is.

 


First Source Jobs Action

DC-Jobs-for-DC-Residents

According to DC law (specifically the District of Columbia’s First Source Employment Agreement Act of 1984), city residents should be given priority for new jobs created by municipal financing and development programs. Because of this law, DC residents have since 1984 received more jobs particularly in construction and the hospitality industry, right? […] . . . → Read More: First Source Jobs Action


Support Affordable Housing by Supporting Museum Square Tenants

Museum Square

Museum Square is a Section 8 apartment complex in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Section 8 or Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal program that assists very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled who cannot afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is […] . . . → Read More: Support Affordable Housing by Supporting Museum Square Tenants


Pre-Apprenticeship Program Leading to Construction Jobs

Building Futures Thumbnail

Looking for a job in construction, but have no experience? Sign up for this pre-apprenticeship program today! Call by Thursday July 16 to get into this program. . . . → Read More: Pre-Apprenticeship Program Leading to Construction Jobs


A Sunday to Dream: Concert to Benefit Back Burner Dreams

Sunday_To_Dream

Written, directed, and produced by Brenda Hayes, Back Burner Dreams: A Women’s Passion Project, is the story of Carla, Stephanie, and Melanee three women who are prompted to revisit, revive, and renew their dreams and passions. This is a story told in two parts; part one introduces each woman to the audience, […] . . . → Read More: A Sunday to Dream: Concert to Benefit Back Burner Dreams