After years of campaigning, Empower DC and its Ivy City members recently reached a critical milestone in their decadeslong fight to get the city to fix and reopen the historic Alexander Crummell School building as a community center.
The two groups, which joined forces this weekend to celebrate, stated in an Empower DC press release that for the first time in 40 years, the Crummell school site has opened to the community with a new set of basketball courts and small playground.
Even more significant, is that D.C. has earmarked $20 million of its budget — which will be approved in the coming weeks — for the northeast D.C. school’s transition to a new community center, according to the release.
“Empower DC is also working with Ivy City residents on community-led planning ahead of a now budgeted Small Area Plan to address the future development of the neighborhood,” Empower DC Executive Director Parisa Norouzi said in the release. “Ivy City is a historically Black, working-class community that faced decades of divestment followed by rapid gentrification. Residents have never had a say in the changes happening to their community — until now. With the upcoming planning, the community will finally be in the driver’s seat.”
Crummell, a historic landmark, was built in 1911 to serve Black children in segregated Washington. The school has vacant, boarded and fenced off from the community it once served for more than 40 years.
Bowser’s decision to allocate funding for the school’s refurbishment came only after years of campaigning that centered on Ivy City’s lack of green and safe spaces for children to play and was featured on the cover of The Washington Post, according to the release.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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