DC Council Lets Down Shaw Community
The DC Council disappointed the Shaw community May 28 when it reversed itself and decided to locate a new Banneker High School on the site of Shaw Junior High. At its previous legislative session on the District fiscal year 2020 budget, the Council stipulated that Banneker would be modernized at its existing site on Euclid Street, while a new Shaw Middle School would be built at the old Shaw Junior High site. The Council reversed itself on the second reading of the budget when Councilmember David Grosso introduced an amendment that would place a new Banneker building in Shaw. The amendment passed by a 7-6 vote, pushed over the line by Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray, who reversed his position after he expressed the opinion that new Banneker and Shaw schools could be co-located on the same site.
During the Council debate, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie complained about the sophistication of the Save Shaw Middle School lobbying effort, pointing out the group’s members in the Council chamber in red t-shirts while ignoring the Banneker supporters in blue shirts on the other side of the room. Councilmember Elissa Silverman declared “Let’s be clear with our residents, we are playing a game of chicken. We have a game of chicken and that’s how we are planning our public school system today.” She added, “It’s outrageous that we are at this point. We are throwing out a boundary study, that took a year, that determined that there should be a Center City middle school” in Shaw.
There is still hope for a Shaw Middle School. Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau offered an amendment that was approved by the Council reserving the old Banneker High School building as the site for a Shaw Middle School. There is also money in the new budget to plan the creation of the new middle school. The struggle to Save Shaw Middle School continues.
Apple Store Opens in Shaw
The Apple Carnegie Library, the District’s latest Apple Store, opened May 11 to enthusiastic crowds. The two year renovation of the historic library has been estimated to cost more than $30 million and includes features found in only a few of Apple’s worldwide system of stores. The first floor of the historic library is devoted to the sale and repair of Apple technology items, along with new public areas for community events. The basement gallery features restored Guastavino tile ceiling vaults, while the second floor of the building is devoted to the Historical Society of Washington’s galleries and library. A StoryMakers Festival celebrating the opening, where users teaming with local artists can create their own work, will be capped by a block party by No Kings Collective on June 29.
Shaw Businesses Gather Accolades
Shaw and its businesses have been receiving a lot of attention in the media lately. Ayeshah Abuelhiga, CEO of the celebrated Mason Dixie Biscuit Company, is on the Washington Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list of young entrepreneurs. The Journal received over 400 nominations for this year’s list. The Industrial Bank marked its 85th anniversary with an event attended by Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, culminating in the re-illumination of the bank’s historic exterior clock. Calabash Tea & Tonic, led by Dr. Sunyatta Amen, was cited by website Travel Noire as being among the 15 Best Black Women-Owned Restaurants in the US, noting its vegan fare and over 50 teas and tinctures.
Dr. Amen also got a considerable amount of screen time from W. Kamau Bell on his CNN show United Shades of America. In an episode revealing “The Real D.C.,” Bell praised Calabash for its sense of coolness and diverse crowd. He also visited Lee’s Flower and Card Shop to learn about its history on U Street, conversed with local artist Aniekan Udofia in front of his Marvin Gaye mural and conducted interviews at Shaw watering holes The Brixton and the Gaslight Tavern.
Finally, Shaw businesses came up frequently in the City Paper’s poll of the Best of DC 2019. A number of establishments have made the list for years. Among the top notch food and drinking places on the kist are Right Proper Brewing Company, Nellie’s Sports Bar, Calabash Tea & Tonic, Oohh’s & Aahh’s, Maxwell Park, and Beau Thai. A number of other Shaw businesses also won the Reader’s Poll, including the 9:30 Club, Violet Boutique, Lee’s Flower and Card Shop, Off Road cycling studio, Warby Parker and uBreakiFix.
Ibrahim Mumin Receives Council Recognition
Shaw activist Ibrahim Mumin was presented with the “Ibrahim Mumin Recognition Resolution of 2019” by the DC Council before its legislative session on May 7. The resolution, introduced by Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, recognizes Mumin’s service to the District for over a half century. Mumin, whose activism started at the age of 15 when he desegregated his local library in Georgia, has been known for his work with groups like the Shaw Project Area Committee to support job training for the disadvantaged and the historic preservation of African American landmarks including the Thurgood Marshall Center and the Lincoln Theater. In his remarks accepting the recognition, Mumin added that he was currently involved in the effort to Save Shaw Middle School.
Shaw Main Streets Holds Open House June 15
Shaw Main Streets will hold its Spring Shaw Open House, a free biannual event to highlight neighborhood businesses, on Saturday, June 15. Shaw Open House will showcase the restaurants, bars, health and fitness facilities and other exceptional retail south of Rhode Island Avenue. Attendees should expect to see a lot of free food and beverage samples and family-friendly fun, $25 in spending money for the first 100 people to pick up event passports, and drawings for prizes from dozens of participating businesses.
The Shaw Open House runs from 1:00-5:00 p.m. with a close-out party and prize drawing from 5:00-6:00 p.m. Another Shaw Open House is scheduled for October 12 to showcase neighborhood businesses in the northern portion of the Shaw Main Streets service area. For more information, visit www.shawmainstreets.org.