The D.C.-area African-American real estate community convened Thursday in the District to honor those who have paved a way for economic development throughout the region.
The African American Real Estate Professionals celebrated 20 years of groundbreaking achievement during their 12th annual awards gala at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building in Northwest.
Charlene Drew Jarvis, scientist and former Ward 4 councilwoman, received the lifetime achievement award for her role in revitalizing the city’s economy after the 1968 riots.
“I left a career in science to make sure the economy of D.C. recovered after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King,” Jarvis said. “Neighborhoods in Washington we’re devastated, so I joined the council with the attention of revitalizing the economy.”
Jarvis became a council member in 1979, spurring major change such as the development of the Convention Center and Verizon Center.
She said she’s receiving the top honor for her genuine work in pushing for black people in the District to have a piece of the economic pie.
“The work that I did as chair of the council for economic development came at a time when businesses and residents were leaving the city,” she said. “They are recognizing my determination to make sure African-Americans were included in major developments in this city.”
AAREP President Craig Dean said Jarvis “is an unsung hero that catapulted development in the District.”
“Those developments in particular are the anchor for many of the developments going on here today,” Dean said.
Other honorees included Sean Cahill, deal of the year; Buwa Bintie, developer of the year; and Brian Argett, DC legacy and Corenic Construction for Small Business of the Year.
In-house honorees included Carissa Stanley for the emerging leader award and Anitra Androh for member of the year.
“I am very proud to be honored by people who look like me,” Jarvis said. “Especially from those who have contributed and continues to contribute to the development of the District.”