D.C.’s National Black United Front (NBUF) recently partnered with Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Karen Lucas and numerous residents at UPO Petey Greene Community Service Center for “Community Clean Up Day.”
The event not only supported residents in helping them to keep their area clean, but also fostered community building in an area often deemed “the last frontier” — in that it hasn’t completely felt the effects of gentrification seen elsewhere in the city.
“I actually had no idea that this event was going on,” said Ward 8 resident Derrick Jenkins. “I just happened to be passing by and saw all of the people cleaning up and passing out food and it made me stop and check it out. I gotta say, I’m glad I did because it helped me understand what was going on and seeing these other Black people out here trying to take care of our land, taking pride in our area, made me feel good. I definitely want to come back next year or whenever they do this again and be a part of it.”
Just weeks after Lucas made the announcement that the District’s beloved Shepherd Parkway would not close, she once again lent her support to Ward 8.
“[This event] will apply the principle of Kwanzaa Kuumba which means creativity, to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it,” NBUF officials said in a statement.
In addition to the community cleanup, the organization also held at the center that day its monthly “Feed the Hood” program, which aids and assists at least 75 D.C. residents each meeting with hygiene products, food, first-aid kits and socks.
Founded in the 1970s with a purpose to advance the lives of all Black people through social, economic, health and political awareness, NBUF also orchestrates additional community services, include the “Buy Black Empowerment Initiative,” which supports and establishes Black-owned businesses; “Mass Incarceration/Police Brutality,” which facilitates workshops that supports political prisoners and educates people on the law; and “N’Joya Weusi Saturday School,” an African-centered supplemental STEM and cultural arts program.
“I’ve been a resident here in Ward 8 for years and I’ve been following these people a long time,” one participant said. “They do a lot in the community and should be recognized more for their efforts, because if we don’t help us, who will?”