In January 2014, a randomly selected group of Potomac Gardens’ and Capitol Hill residents who live in the townhouses and market-rate apartments and condominiums surrounding Potomac Gardens found the following letter in their mailbox or attached to their door.
As a resident of Potomac Gardens and/or Capitol Hill, your opinions about the community are important. What are the neighborhood’s advantages? What are its shortcomings? What would make Capitol Hill a better place to live? With the support of the Humanities Council of Washington, Grassroots DC, a nonprofit that provides basic computer and media production training to low-income and working-class District residents, is producing a documentary about the changing demographics of Capitol Hill with a focus on Potomac Gardens and the area surrounding the public housing complex.
On (date here) between noon and 6pm, representatives of Grassroots DC, will conduct a survey on your block/in your building. The survey will be used to help us decide what issues to include in the documentary. We want to represent the viewpoint of Capitol Hill and Potomac Gardens residents as honestly as possible. Therefore, it is crucial that we get as many survey participants as we can.
We hope that you or someone else in your household will be available to take the survey on the afternoon of (date here). If you would like to participate but are not available at that time, please contact me, Grassroots DC’s coordinator Liane Scott at (202) 608-1376 or email@example.com.
Thank you for your time.
Coordinator, Grassroots DC
1227 G Street SE, Ground Floor
Washington, DC 20003
As the letter indicates, teams of Grassroots DC members went door-to-door for about three months, in preparation for the documentary Potomac Gardens Inside and Out, which is a community-driven documentary project that explores the changing demographics of the Capitol Hill neighborhood surrounding the Potomac Gardens Public Housing Complex and the divide between those who live within Potomac Gardens and those who live outside of Potomac Gardens. What are the barriers to communication between the two groups and how can they be overcome? Here’s our trailer.
It took us about four months to complete the surveys. We began interviewing folks on video in the spring and summer. By the fall we were transcribing and editing the footage. This week, our website PotomacGardensInsideAndOut.com went live. There’s still much more to be done–more interviews, more editing, more surveys, etc. We’ll post updates about the project here, but for the most complete picture of the project, visit the site.