050206pwanacostia8345sm_2To those of you from out of town, welcome to the District of Columbia.

It is truly an honor to be here today among such distinguished guests to address an issue that is not only important to my city, but to the conscious of this nation.

  • Every so many years a movement comes along that challenges the status quo…a movement that speaks firmly to the hearts and minds of all generations.

  • A movement that says, "The time is now, the future is now!"

  • Fifty years ago, the civil rights movement awakened the national consciousness to a fundamental principle that there is no special club or birthright to equality.  So, we fought.  And the nation responded.  The right to vote and the right to sit at the table became a reality for everyone. 

  • But fifty years later, we are still a fractured nation and world. Poverty and economic injustice is a harsh reality for many families and children.  And the divide is growing faster every day.

  • But there is a new movement that is sweeping the nation.  A movement that is bringing hope to communities like Anacostia that has suffered from historical neglect. It’s a movement that is bigger than a piece of legislation and talking heads. 

  • To communities like Anacostia, the "Silver Rights" movement wants to help those who have been living in the shadows and who deserve to have their voices heard. This movement is about a community finding its voice.

  • As mayor, I’ve worked hard to create a city that is financially stable as we expanded our economy and negotiated a fair and equitable annual federal contribution.

  • Early on, I envisioned a city where every neighborhood has been touched by its resurgence, with restaurants along Georgia Avenue, shopping in Columbia Heights, and an emerging Anacostia community.

  • And today, all of us combined envision a city where the Anacostia River is the true asset it should be, surrounded by thriving and prosperous neighborhoods.

  • But our work is far from done. To lift up all communities, we must make long-term investments in our infrastructure.

  • After decades of neglect, we finally have the ability to make historic improvements that will define our city long after we are all gone. We will see a major change to the 11th Street Bridge that will reduce traffic for residents in Wards 7 and 8, and connect communities on both sides of the Anacostia.

  • In the next few years, we will see our major corridors literally transformed. It isn’t right that one half of Massachusetts Avenue is a showcase, and the other half is falling apart.

  • It isn’t right that one half of Pennsylvania Avenue is an example of what can happen when we restore a corridor and the other half an example of what can happen when we neglect it.

  • Georgia and Alabama Avenues should be just as inviting as Conneticut and New Hampshire Avenues. Our corridors are the arteries of the District. Included in our plans is a major revitalization of Pennsylvania Avenue east of the Anacostia River.

  • There is nothing new about poverty and economic decline. The real question is whether we will continue to use our resources to get rid of economic injustice and inequality.

  • This is the defining challenge and question of our time that Dr. King warned us about years ago.  A
    re we going to lift up America’s poorest and most vulnerable?  Today, I believe we are meeting that challenge and answering the call.

  • We have the vision and the future is now for Anacostia! 

  • I’m looking forward to partnering with Operation Hope and our federal partners to give the Anacostia the opportunity that we all should embrace. 

  • Again, welcome to your Nation’s Capital!

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