May 4, 2006 7:00 AM (1 day ago)WASHINGTON – Paul Wolfowitz and Ben Bernanke are usually focused on Third World debt, interest rates and inflation. But on Wednesday, the president of the World Bank and chairman of the Federal Reserve were talking about the revitalization of long-neglected neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.
“Too many people outside of this room and across the nation seem to be unaware or inattentive to the sharp contrast between the lives of our richest and poorest citizens,” said Wolfowitz, speaking from The ARC on Mississippi Avenue in Southeast.
The Anacostia Economic Summit, organized by Operation Hope and the D.C. government, was an effort to inspire optimism, stimulate investment and plot a positive course for the parts of the nation’s capital still afflicted by poverty.
“Being poor is a disabling state of mind and a depressed condition of our spirit, and we must vow never to be poor again,” said John Bryant, founder and chairman of Operation Hope, a “social investment banking organization” that provides home loans and teaches financial literacy to low-income residents.
Summit speakers concentrated on coordinating government, the private sector and nonprofits in a singular effort to improve education and bring jobs, retail and homeownership to residents of communities east of the river. The effort, already under way, will require cooperation of all parties, participation of new partners, vision and expertise, they said.
“What we see today in Southeast D.C. demonstrates that smart public and private investment can create a virtuous circle of economic growth and opportunity,” Bernanke said.
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